Decline in Gig Harbor bat population predicted
In 2013, the Gig Harbor Times.com posted an article questioning the disappearance of the bat population. Prior to 2013 we observed many bats during summer months. At dusk, just after sunset, bats were seen swooping and fliting about as they fed on insects.
The US Forest service seems to answer that question in a confirmation of the bat “white nose syndrome” fungus presence is Western Washington as of October 2016.
The Gig Harbor Times suspects that recently discovered evidence of “white nose syndrome” in Western Washington has been present for many years. The decline of our local bat population is scientifically undocumented and only observationally reported in the Gig Harbor Times.com
What does that mean for Gig Harbor and Western Washington? Bats consume thousands of pounds of insects including mosquitoes. The Zika virus and West Nile fever are two emergent diseases that first arrived on the east coast. In 2012 the east coast, coincidentally, experienced a massive die-off of bats (5.7 million bat deaths) due to the white nose fungus.
Mosquitoes breed in small standing water sources. Breeding grounds can include gutters, plant pots, blue tarps, old tires or anywhere water can accumulate. The Gig Harbor Times.com recommends that one should inspect their surrounding environment for sources of standing water. Both renters and homeowners need to be responsible for their personal health protection in this coming fight against emergent diseases.