Ailing bats mean more pesticide use in Texas

White-nose syndrome has killed so many bats in the United States that media reports warn it could affect agriculture. The reports are based upon a Texas study of eight counties that estimates the loss of Brazilian free-tailed bats would require use of an additional US $121,000-$1.7  million in pesticides to produce the state’s cotton crop.

The syndrome is named after a fungus that grows on bats’ noses and other membranes in low temperatures.

It disrupts the bat’s hibernation, waking it and depleting energy stores. A 2009
New York state survey indicates that only 10 per cent of bats survive in affected colonies.

Better Farming - February 2010