A deadly disease hit the bat population in Minnesota drastically, the state minerals department announced Thursday, warning residents may see an increase in mosquitoes, moths and other insects without these winged creatures.
Officials said so-called white-nose syndrome (WNS) has resulted in a "significant" decline in bats, so that the population has fallen by 94 percent in at least one cave in southeastern Minnesota.
WNS According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), bats are usually hibernating. A white mushroom grows around the muzzle of the animal – hence the name – but can also attack wings, tail and ears.
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There may be a rare hibernaculum in Minnesota that has not been affected. WNS is likely to be in hibernation throughout the state, "said Ed Quinn, a supervisor of the DNR's Natural Resources Program. At least four of Minnesota's bat species hibernate while four more emigrate.
Since the disease was first confirmed in Minnesota in 201
"For some years, public tours of the Soudan Mine and the Mystery Cave have begun a short lesson to prevent the spread of WNS Before and after the tours, visitors must walk on special mats designed to remove spurs from shoes, and are advised not to wear the same clothing, shoes or equipment when visiting other caves or mines where Multiple washes in a standard washer do not provide sufficient decon taminating, "said the DNR.
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"Along with mosquitoes and other biting insects, bats also eat a large number of moths. Some moths can damage crops and vegetable gardens, and bat loss for WNS could increase pesticide use, "the agency said. Some residents said the DNR said they had identified a "dramatic increase in mosquitoes" compared to WNS detected in the state.
WNS does not only affect bats in Minnesota. In fact, the disease was first discovered in 2007 in eastern New York. According to the DNR, it has now expanded to 33 states and seven Canadian provinces, which has resulted in more than six million bats being added.