White nose syndrome may be spreading to DE bats

    The fungus that’s killed hundreds of thousands of cave-dwelling bats from Canada to Tennessee may be taking roost in Delaware.

    Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome  (Photo: Marvin Moriarty/USFWS)

    The fungus that’s killed hundreds of thousands of cave-dwelling bats from Canada to Tennessee may be taking roost in Delaware. Delaware wildlife officials say they’ve found signs of White-nose Syndrome on the wings of Little Brown Bats in New Castle County.

    Biologist Holly Niederriter:

    Niederriter: Even if you don’t care about wildlife, the magnitude of the deaths is mind boggling. At least over a million bats are dead already and it just looks like it’s continuing on. It’s barreling through every state that does have caves or mines.

    The fungus thrives in cold temperatures and spread quickly this winter among hibernating bats in New England. Delaware doesn’t have many caves or mines, but cave bats that survive the winter outbreak in neighboring states should be making their way back to Delaware soon.

    More info: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service page on White-Nose Syndrome Map of Occurrence of White-Nose Syndrome by county/district

    The Department of Natural Resources is monitoring the bat population to determine how many have returned, and whether they’ll be able to shake off the fungus as temperatures heat up.

    White-nose syndrome is not a threat to humans.

    Bats get a bad rap in the movies, but Niederriter says they’re great at controlling mosquitos and other insects humans consider pests.

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