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Biologists seek help finding bats in Upper Delaware Valley


June 4, 2014

RIVER VALLEY — Biologists from the National Park Service and East Stroudsburg University are requesting help from the public in identifying summer roosting bat colonies in houses, barns and other buildings within the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor. If you know of a bat colony that is currently roosting in a building on your property, and you are willing to allow biologists to conduct at least two to three emergence counts of these bats over the course of the summer, please contact the National Park Service’s Milanville office at 570/729-7842, or don_hamilton@nps.gov.

Since the introduction of white-nose syndrome, a devastating disease caused by a fungus that was introduced to North America within the past decade, several bat species in the Delaware River corridor have suffered massive population declines. Two species affected by this disease, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, commonly spend much of the summer roosting in buildings such as houses, barns and churches, emerging at dusk to forage for insects such as mosquitoes and moths. Healthy bat populations are beneficial because they naturally control insect populations that could potentially destroy crops or spread diseases.

One technique for monitoring the health of bat populations involves making regular counts of the number of bats exiting from a building at dusk. These emergence counts are made from outside the building and do not require access to the interior, and they typically take from 30 to 90 minutes to complete.