Why Are Bats Dying?

English: Little brown bat with white-nose synd...



Blood-sucking devil birds!

Winged spawn of Satan!

These are just a few words some of us might mistakenly use to describe the bat; but despite this fictitious reputation, bats are vital to the ecosystem. They are pest control agents; eating disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes, and feeding on crop-damaging caterpillars and worms. They also aid in the pollinating of certain plants.

It’s because of their vital ecological importance, bat-lovers and scientists alike are in panic mode over massive loss of these flying mammals. Bats are dying off at an alarming rate.

Just how big of a bat loss are we talking?

Last year, NASA reported the North American bat’s death toll surpassed the 7 Million mark. A year later, it is feared that the death toll may be reaching 10 Million. United States Fish & Wildlife Services fear that “half the bat species in the United States could be wiped out if something is not done.”

What exactly is killing off all of these bats?

White-Nose Syndrome Killing Off Bats

Despite some bat’s white-nosed appearance, they have not been out partying with Lindsay Lohan. The white substance appearing on affected bats is a white fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). This symptom is called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). A deadly white fungus will grow on bat’s noses, bodies, and wings as they hibernate in caves for the winter. The fungus causes the hibernating bats to wake during the winter months. When awake, the bats will burn up all of their energy reserves that are usually saved when they hibernate. Due to lack of energy and nutrition, the affected bats ultimately die of starvation. The fungus is also deadly when it spreads to a bat’s wings. Healthy wing membranes are vital to bats, as they help regulate body temperature, blood pressure, water balance and gas exchange—not to mention the ability to fly and to feed.

The White-Nose Syndrome fungus was first discovered back in 2006, in the caves of New York. It has since spread to some 28 U.S. States. It’s believed that the fungus was brought over from Europe, where WNS didn’t seem to have the same affect as it has on the 26 different species of hibernating North American bats.

America’s most common species of bat, the little brown bat, has been hit the hardest with some states reporting population losses as high as 90 percent. In certain specific caves in the U.S., the entire population has been wiped out.

According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, this is “one of the fastest declines of wildlife they have ever seen.”

Current States Reporting White-Nose Syndrome

As of June 2013, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services report that 28 states have confirmed the deadly bat disease, White-Nose Syndrome. This is a drastic increase from 2007 when New York was the only state to report WNS. Current states affected include:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska 


  • New Jersey
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin 


To help out our bat friends, and combat WNS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services has awarded grants totaling almost $1 Million to the 28 affected states.

Bat with White-nose Syndrome

Can Humans Catch White-Nose Syndrome?

It is common believe among scientists and researchers that bat-to-bat transmission is the principal aspect in the spread of White Nose Syndrome. Furthermore, research also suggests that the disease can ONLY be spread bat-to-bat. It is, however, believed that WNS fungus can be spread by humans from infected sites to clean sites through contaminated shoes, clothing, and equipment.

As for humans catching White-Nose Syndrome, it is highly unlikely. According to whitenosesyndrome.org, thousands of people have visited affected caves and mines since the disease was first observed. There have been no reported human illnesses attributable to WNS.

We are still learning about WNS, but we know of no risk to humans from contact with WNS-affected bats. However, we urge taking precautions and not exposing yourself to WNS. Biologists and researchers use protective clothing when entering caves or handling bats.

Currently, there is no known cure for White-Nose Syndrome.

How Loss Of Bats Hurts Agriculture

The economic consequences of losing up to 10 Million could be substantial. A single colony of 150 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) has been estimated to eat nearly 1.3 million pest insects each year, possibly contributing to the disruption of population cycles of agricultural pests. That means that over 1500 metric tons of insect pests are no longer being consumed by bats in the affected areas.

It’s suggested that loss of bats in North America could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 Billion a year.

What Can Be Done To Save Bats From White-Nose Syndrome

In general, fungus is spread through direct contact with fungal spores. Humans are urged to not share clothing, shoes, pillowcases, etc., stay away from stray animals, take care of personal equipment, and wear flip flops in public showers to avoid contact with fungal spores of any kind. In general, its in good taste to not touch bats while spelunking for both the bat’s health, and your own.

Unfortunately, bats cannot put on little rubber gloves and other protective clothing to avoid contact with fungal spores. On the plus side, recent research has found that the fungus may respond to typical human anti-fungal treatments. More studies are being undertaken to determine how best to use this knowledge.


Top 3 Biggest Insect Swarms In Recent History

There are more insects on Earth than there are human beings. Billions more. In fact, there are so many insects that they can sometimes swarm in the millions and devastate the landscape. Swarms are large numbers of insects that get together for a collective purpose. This purpose can be migration, mating, or eating. Swarming is a behavior that occurs more often than most people realize. Sometimes these swarms get so massive that they are positively biblical, as in the swarm of locusts that destroyed ancient Egypt’s crops. Here are a few massive swarms that have appeared in recent memory.

1931 Grasshoppers in the Midwest

Grasshopper Swarm
Grasshopper Swarm

Grasshoppers are famous for swarming and devouring miles of crop along the way. This usually happens as part of the mating drive, when certain conditions cause their wings and jaws to grow making them into hungry eating machines. They fly farther, and eat more as a result. The 1931 Swarm landed in the heartland of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa in July. There are so many grasshoppers that they blocked out the sun and ate crops right down to the ground. People had to use shovels to scoop dead grasshoppers off the ground. This swarm was particularly bad because it occurred in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dustbowl, placing even more hardship on a strained nation.

2009 Ladybugs on Green Mountain

Ladybug Swarm
Ladybug Swarm

In Boulder, Colorado the residents experienced a very buggy summer of 2009 when millions of ladybugs landed to feast on a bumper crop of aphids. This swarm of bugs is mainly carnivorous, so the plants weren’t in too much danger, but the very wet spring provided plenty of green plants for the growth of other insects including aphids, slugs, snails, mosquitoes, and ants. The ladybugs were everywhere as they feasted on these insects. People reported seeing so many ladybugs on tree trunks that it appeared as if the bark itself were moving.

Double Cicada Hatching of 1998

Cicada Swarm
Cicada Swarm

Cicadas are large, winged bugs with massive eyes and no mouth parts. They live underground in a larval stage for a decade of their lives before emerging to develop wings as adults. These adults fly, mate, and die. They are not at all dangerous, but they are scary looking and sounding. Massive broods of cicada live under the North American continent, but they only come out once every 13 or 17 years. This is bad enough on its own when millions of bugs line the tree trunks and sidewalks, making chirping noises all night. However, once every 221 years, the brood hatchings will align and both 13 and 17 year cicadas crawl up out of the ground. This happened in 1998 and cicadas swarmed the northern and southern states of America in the millions. Luckily, this won’t happen again for another two hundred years.

Insect swarms are no joke. They can be quite annoying and cause lots of damage. However, not all swarms are locusts and grasshoppers. Some swarms are from normally harmless insects that in large numbers cause a lot of problems.

About the author: Chris is a blogger for a Union Exterminator company.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne

Bedbug Laws By State

bedbug (Cimex sp.)
bedbug (Cimex sp.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the serious increase of bedbug infestations over the past decade, many victims of such infestations are wondering what the bedbug laws are in their state. Currently, twenty-two states have bedbug laws in the books. Several other states have bedbug legislation, or yet to be passed bedbug laws. Here is a compiled list:

*** Disclaimer*** The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. These are the bedbug laws as of March 11, 2013, and can change. If  you feel that you have been a bedbug victim; whether landlord, tenant, or otherwise, please contact a licensed attorney who specializes in bedbug cases.




Alabama Administrative Code 420-3-11-.12 Insect And Rodent Control: Section 2

Guest rooms and other areas of a hotel found to be infested with bed bugs shall be subject to immediate closure until effective treatment, eliminating pests, has been administered. A State health official shall declare the problem abated before the room or area is reopened to guests.

Read more: http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/




Arizona Revised Code 36-601 – Public Nuisances Dangerous to Public Health.

Any place that offers sleeping accommodations, and has bedbugs, is a public nuisance and dangerous to human health.

Arizona Revised Code 9-500.31 Prohibition on adopting landlord tenant bedbug control requirements.

Arizona cities/town cannot regulate landlord-tenant bedbug controls. They can regulate disposal of bedbug infested materials.

Arizona Revised Code 11-269.11 Prohibition on adopting landlord tenant bedbug control requirements.

Boards of Supervisors cannot regulate landlord-tenant bedbug controls. They can regulate disposal of bedbug infested materials.

Arizona Revised Code 33-1319 Bedbug control; landlord and tenant obligations; definitions.

A landlord cannot knowingly rent a bedbug infested property to a tenant, and must provide tenants with bedbug literature.

Read more: http://www.azleg.gov/ars/36/00601.htm




California Code Of Regulations 40- Bedding

Hotels, apartments, and linen supply companies must ensure all materials are bedbug free.

Source: https://law.resource.org/pub/us/ccr/gov.ca.oal.title25.html




Sec. 22a-46. Short title: Connecticut Pesticide Control Act

In Connecticut, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) classifies each registered pesticide as either acceptable for general use or restricted use. Restricted use pesticides are recognized in the industry to generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. Restricted use pesticides may be applied only by a certified applicator or under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.

Read more: http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap441.htm




Florida Revised Code/Title VI/Civil Practice and Procedure/Chapter 83-

Landlord and Tenant

The extermination bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days’ written notice, if necessary, for extermination.

Read more: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&Sub


The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago is in the process of drafting bedbug laws. The city of Chicago was recently labeled the #1 infested bedbug city in the U.S. The new laws are expected to be voted on March 13, 2013.

Illinois Proposed Bedbug Laws

The presence of bedbugs is a public nuisance.
Bedbugs require pest control management done by a pest control professional.
Bedbug infestations require records to be kept on infestations and actions taken.
City and State employees will be granted access to the above mentioned reports.
Requires each condo and co-op to develop a plan for detection, inspection and eradication of bed bugs.
Regulates disposal of contaminated materials and sale of used mattresses and beds.
A sample plan for detection, inspection, and eradication of bedbugs will be posted on the State’s Department of Public Health website.
Laws will spell out both landlord and tenant responsibilities when it comes to bedbugs.
The Commissioner of Public Health has the power to enforce these laws.




Iowa Administrative Rule 138.13 Conditions For Migrant Labor Camps Permits

A migrant labor camp must have bedbug controls in place; and take effective pest control measures against any bedbug infestations.

Read more: http://law.justia.com/codes/iowa/2013/titleiv/subtitle2/chapter138/138-13/




Kansas Administrative Regulations Article 36 /28-36-77.—Food Service Establishments, Vending machines, and Lodging

The presence of bed bugs, which is indicated by observation of a living or dead bed bug, bed bug carapace, eggs or egg casings, or the typical brownish or blood spotting on linens, mattresses, or furniture, shall be considered an infestation. The presence of bed bugs shall be reported to the regulatory authority within one business day upon discovery or upon receipt of a guest complaint. All infestations must be treated by licensed pest control operator.

Kansas Administrative Regulations Article 4-27-9 Bedbugs Imminent Health Hazard

Bedbugs are considered a health hazard, which must be reported to authorities within 12 hours of detection.




Maine Revised Statutes-Title 14: 6021-A. Treatment of Bedbug Infestation

Landlord must: Inspect the unit for bed bugs within five days of being notified by tenant of infestation, contact pest control agent within 10 days of determining there is an infestation, take reasonable measures to effectively identify and treat bed bug infestation as determined by pest control agent. The pest control agent must carry current liability insurance. Before renting a dwelling unit, a landlord must disclose to a prospective tenant if an adjacent unit is currently infested with or being treated for bed bugs; including the last time the property was inspected and labeled bedbug free. Landlord may not offer for rent a dwelling unit the landlord knows or suspects is infested with bed bugs.Tenants must: Promptly notify a landlord when they know of or suspects an infestation of bedbugs in their unit, and then grant the landlord and pest control agent access to the unit. Tenant must comply with reasonable measures to
eliminate and control a bed bug infestation
as set forth by the landlord and pest control
agent or risk being financially responsible
for all pest control treatments of dwelling
unit arising from the tenant’s failure to
comply.Law also provides bedbug remedies.

Read more: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/14/14/title14ch0sec0.html




Michigan Administrative Code 400.57 Care Of Residents

Requires county infirmaries to implement procedures to prevent bedbug infestations and to take proper steps to eradicate existing infestations.

Source: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/env-res/state-bedbug-laws.aspx




Minnesota Administrative Code 4625.1700 INSECT AND RODENT CONTROL

Every hotel, motel, lodging house, and resort shall be so constructed and equipped as to prevent the entrance, harborage, or breeding of bedbugs, and specific means necessary, for the elimination of such pests such as cleaning, renovation, or fumigation shall be used. The commissioner may order the facility to hire an exterminator licensed by the state to exterminate pests when:A. The infestation is so extensive that it is unlikely that a nonprofessional can eradicate the pests effectively; orB. The extermination method of choice can only be carried out by a licensed exterminatorC. Upon re-inspection, it is found that an establishment has not been brought into compliance with a prior order to rid the establishment of pests.

Minnesota Administrative Code 4665.2300 INSECT AND RODENT CONTROL

Every supervised living facility shall be so constructed or equipped as to prevent the entrance, harborage, or breeding of bedbugs. Cleaning, renovation, or fumigation by licensed pest control operators for the elimination of such pests shall be used when necessary.

Read more: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/?id=4625.1700&keyword_type=al




Nebraska Administration of Rules & Regulations Title 175, Ch. 2, 004 SANITATION

Boarding homes must be built to prevent the infestation of bedbugs, and pest control operators can be used to treat infestations.

Nebraska Administration of Rules & Regulations Title 175, Ch. 3, 004 HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS – GENERAL

Health care facilities must be built to prevent the infestation of bedbugs, and pest control operators can be used to treat infestations.




Nevada Revised Code 447.030 Extermination

Any room in any hotel in Nevada that is infested with bedbugs shall be thoroughly fumigated, disinfected and renovated until such bedbugs are entirely exterminated.

Nevada Revised Code 444 Sanitation

In a camp, proper bedbug prevention measures must be taken.

Read more: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Legal/LawLibrary/NRS/NRS-447.html

New York



Revised Statute New York City

Administrative Code 27-2018.1 Notice of Bedbug Infestation History

A property’s bedbug infestation history for the previous year, regarding the premises rented by the tenant, and the building in which the premises are located, shall be furnished to each tenant.

New York Education Code/Article 19 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICE 920. Public Schools

Public schools; infestation of bedbugs1. In a city school district having a population of one million or more inhabitants, the principal of each public school shall provide immediate notification to parents, persons in parental relation or guardians of potentially affected students attending the school, disclosing a findingrelating to the infestation of bedbugs in such school; provided, however, that if pursuant to regulations of the commissioner it is determined that any infestation is contained within a discrete area, the principal may limit such notification to parents, persons in parental relationship or guardians of all potentially affected students within such area, and shall advise the parents’ association of the scope of such notification.2. Along with the notification required pursuant to subdivision one of this section, the principal of such public school shall also include information regarding proper procedures to prevent further infestationsat the school and to prevent the transfer of bedbugs. Such information shall be developed by the board of education in consultation with other city agencies and shall be available in various languages as deemed necessary.3. The principal shall ensure that the bedbug infestation at the school is properly addressed in the most effective and safe manner.





Ohio Revised Code 3731.13 Bedding, floors, and carpets must be kept sanitary

Hotel bedding must be kept sanitary and bedbug free.

Read more: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3731.13




Pennsylvania Code 82.15 Insect Control

Measures must be taken and in place to eliminate and prevent bedbug infestations at farm labor camps.


Rhode Island



Rhode Island Administrative Code 25-3-24:7 Rules & Regulations Relating To Pesticides

Certain restricted bedbug pesticides must be certified for commercial use.

Read more: http://www.dem.ri.gov/pubs/regs/regs/agric/pestrg06.pdf

South Dakota



South Dakota Administrative Code/44:02:08-Vacation Homes

A vacation home establishment must be constructed, equipped, and maintained to prevent the entrance, harborage, or breeding of bed bugs. Specific means necessary for the elimination of such pests, such as cleaning, renovation, or fumigation, must be used. The department may require the facility to hire a professional exterminator to exterminate pests.

Read more: http://legis.state.sd.us/rules/DisplayRule.aspx?Rule=44:02:08:05




Texas Revised Code Sec. 341.011. NUISANCE

Bedbugs are a public health nuisance.

Texas Revised Code Sec. 341.012. ABATEMENT OF NUISANCE

(a) A person shall abate a public health nuisance existing in or on a place the person possesses as soon as the person knows that the nuisance exists.(b) A local health authority who receives information and proof that a public health nuisance exists in the local health authority’s jurisdiction shall issue a written notice ordering the abatement of the nuisance to any person responsible for the nuisance. The local health authority shall at the same time send a copy of the notice to the local municipal, county, or district attorney.(c) The notice must specify the nature of the public health nuisance and designate a reasonable time within which the nuisance must be abated.(d) If the public health nuisance is not abated within the time specified by the notice, the local health authority shall notify the prosecuting attorney who received the copy of the original notice. The prosecuting attorney: (1) shall immediately institute proceedings to abate the public health nuisance; or (2) request the attorney general to institute the proceedings or provide assistance in the prosecution of the proceedings, including participation as an assistant prosecutor when appointed by the prosecuting attorney.




Utah Administrative Code Rule R392-200. Design, Construction, Operation, Sanitation, and Safety of Schools.

Effective measures intended to minimize the presence of bedbugs on the premises shall be utilized. The premises shall be maintained so that propagation, harborage, or feeding of is prevented.

Read more: http://www.rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r392/r392-200.htm

West Virginia



West Virginia Revised Code 16-6-16 Bedbugs

In every hotel, any room infected with vermin or bedbugs shall be fumigated, disinfected and renovated until said vermin or bedbugs are extirpated.





Wisconsin Administrative Code Department Health Services 190.08

(5) PEST CONTROL(a) Screens. All windows and doors used for ventilation purposes shall be provided with wire screening of not less than number 16 mesh or its equivalent and shall be properly maintained to prevent entry of insects. Screens for windows shall cover at least one third of the window area. Screen doors shall be self closing.(b) Eradication. All means necessary for the elimination of rodents, flies, roaches, bedbugs, fleas, lice and other householdpests shall be used. Extreme care shall be taken in the use of poison to prevent accidental poisoning of domestic animals and people.(c) Labeling and storage of poisonous compounds. Containers of all poisonous compounds used in the extermination of rodents or insects shall be prominently and distinctly labeled for easy identification of contents. Poisonous compounds shall be stored independently and separately from food and kitchenware.

Read more: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/dhs/190.pdf

*** Disclaimer*** The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. These are the bedbug laws as of March 11, 2013, and can change. If feel that you have been a bedbug victim; whether landlord, tenant, or otherwise, please contact a licensed attorney who specializes in bedbug cases.

Other Sources: