Bats, nature's little insect eating machines, are dying in disturbing numbers throughout the East. Biologists have found sick, dying and dead bats in unprecedented numbers in and around caves and mines from Vermont to Virginia. In spots where bats hibernate, affected bats usually have white fungus on their muzzles and parts of their bodies. They frequently lack adequate body fat to survive until spring. Known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html , it was only recently identified as a fungus (Geomyces sp.) If WNS is not eradicated, there's a real possibility of losing entire bat species, which would increase the population of many beetles, moths, aquatic flies and mosquitoes, including pests that plague nurseries and home landscapes. Nearly 100 groups are working together to solve the WNS mystery. If you discover a large bat kill, contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (800) 344-9453.
I don't suppose there are bat feeders than can be put out in yards like we do for hummingbirds? Perhaps folks who live in the affected areas can fatten them up before winter to help them pull through? I've put up bat houses in the past, but not feeders.
It just occurred to me to ask if you have your normal mosquito populations. This month has been terribly wet and still no mosquitoes. The past couple years there were a few and this year I really can't remember when I last saw one. I stay outside until just before dark almost every day so I know they're conspicuously absent. I am very pleased with that but I know they're a main food for bats around here.
On the other hand, there's a regular plague of knats. The ones that are too small to see. I don't know if the bats eat them or not but something sure does need to get them. There are far more than is normal.
I've seen a few honey bees this year. That is not saying much, I could probably count them on both hands, but it is more than in all of last year.
I'm not using anything toxic except neem and BT for caterpillars and squash borers so it's really a big mystery. Those two pests have been far worse than usual. Something strange is going on.
Interesting idea Molamola! Would the bats be attracted to the bugs flying around a light? I've never seen bats or swallows come near the bugs that gather near light fixtures. This will be something to explore.
We have a pole light in our drive and come warm weather there are always a couple bats flying around to get the bugs...I haven't been out at night so far this year .That is something I'll need to watch for.
And something else that was odd,and I was quite grateful for,is those Asian Beetles...look like ladybugs.we always have millions on the outside walls of the house and there hasn't been any this year.