Signs of spring are increasing daily – bulbs, baseball practices, robins seeking out worms. Still, I cannot clear my head of this vision: thousands of mosquitoes throwing celebration parties all over Connecticut and other northeast states, and thousands of humans holed up inside scratching a plethora of itchy red bumps.
Why? A Hartford Courant article that suggests bats may be out at bat due to white-nose syndrome. Scientists estimate 90 percent of Connecticut’s bats have died, and 90 to 95 percent of the bats that tend to migrate here from the Adirondacks, Vermont, and the Berkshires have also succumbed.
Bats help keep insects in check. Fewer bats translate to more flying insects; and the potential for such a massive increase in flying insects has to impact our lives. The article states each bat eats about 3000 flying insects, such as mosquitoes and moths, a night. So if bats – the mammal type – strike out, we lose … it’s just not yet clear by how much.
If you live near woods or open spaces and look up during the early evening you are likely to witness the swoop and roll of bat aerobics as they search for prey. Last year, my family and I noticed fewer bats than in previous years. This year I will watch the evening sky closely for the sign of any.
But for the next two weeks, I’ll add the following to my list of things to do, and I ask you to do the same:
scientists will be helped by public reports of bats flying in the daytime during the next two weeks, when there are not enough insects for bats to eat. The telltale white fungus on the bats will not be present, because it disappears when exposed to the sun and heat. Reports of daytime sightings, or other erratic behavior by bats, may be made to the DEP’s number, 860-675-8130.
And I’ll hope that this year’s afternoons spent watching metal bats swing in search of a long ball will again be followed by evenings of watching warm-blooded bats go long for their prey.