UPPER DELAWARE - Biologists from the National Park Service and East Stroudsburg University are requesting help from the public in identifying summer roosting bat colonies in houses, barns, and other buildings within the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Corridor.
       If you know of a bat colony that is currently roosting in a building on your property, and you are willing to allow biologists to conduct at least two to three emergence counts of these bats over the course of the summer, please contact the National Park Service’s Milanville Office at 570-729-7842, or don_hamilton@nps.gov.
         Since the introduction of White-nose Syndrome, a devastating disease caused by a fungus that was introduced to North America within the past decade, several bat species in the Delaware River Corridor have suffered massive population declines. Two species affected by this disease, the little brown bat and the big brown bat, commonly spend much of the summer roosting in buildings such as houses, barns, and churches, emerging at dusk to forage for insects such as mosquitos and moths.    
      Healthy bat populations are beneficial because they naturally control insect populations that could potentially destroy crops or spread diseases.  
       One technique for monitoring the health of bat populations involves making regular counts of the number of bats exiting from a building at dusk.  These emergence counts are made from outside the building and do not require access to the interior, and they typically take from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. By making counts early in the season, before July, when only adults are present, and later in the summer, after mid-July when young bats are also emerging at dusk to forage with the adults, it is possible to assess reproduction success in that bat colony.
        In addition, by repeating emergence counts year after year, biologists are able to assess whether the colony is increasing or declining and therefore obtain information on the health of local bat populations.