Bats make us think of a few different things this time of year. Whether it’s the bats of baseball’s World Series, or a scary Halloween display. However, a real bat does not “bat” a ball, and is less scary than you might think. Bat week runs from October 24th through the 31st and is an international celebration with a goal to raise awareness about the plight of the bat, and its benefits. Michigan has nine different bat species and did you know bats eat several different pests, including beetles, moths, and flies? They are a non-toxic pest control for crops, but the population has declined in recent years.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), believes the decline is due to a disease called white-nose syndrome. The disease causes bats to wake early from hibernation causing them to deplete fat reserves quicker, thus making them more vulnerable in the winter months. The DNR has been working to lessen the effects of the disease, and protect the areas where bats hibernate. Residents are being encouraged by the DNR to erect bat houses, and respect natural areas where bats hibernate. The DNR says bats should be treated with respect and left alone.
Reporting for WGRT, Mike Smith.