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Bat disease could allow insects to destroy crops

April 27, 2011 Comments off

dispatch

A deadly disease to bats could become a major financial headache for agriculture, costing Ohio farmers as much as $1.7 billion a year.

A new study is the first to tie a dollar value to the millions of crop-damaging insects that bats routinely devour each year. Now, the night-flying hunters face the threat of a fungal disease that kills most of the bats it infects.

White-nose syndrome, named for the fungus that spreads over bats while they hibernate, has killed at least 1 million bats in 15 states and Canada since it was discovered in New York in 2006.

On March 30, Ohio officials announced that they found the disease among bats hibernating in an abandoned limestone mine in the Wayne National Forest. They fear it will march through Ohio as it has Read more…