The North American bat population is dealing with a plague that has killed up to seven million bats in the past 10 years. Once a colony is infected, it can lose between 90 to 100 percent of its bats, and the sickness is so widespread. It’s claimed lives of up to 90 percent of bats in some major areas of North America like New England or Quebec. So, what is this vicious disease? It’s called White-nose Syndrome and it’s caused by a fungus called P. destructans. The name is fitting. The skin fungus eats away a bats wings causing hibernating bats to wake up too soon and uses up their fat stores far too quickly. Entire colonies of bats starve to death, and it’s a bigger problem for us than you’d think. Bats provide American farmers with some serious pest control. One bat eats 600 insects a night, most of which are crop and forest pests such as June bugs and moths. A single colony of brown bats can eat 1.3 billion insects in one year. If we lost all bats in North America, it would cost farmers at least 22 billion dollars a year between the cost of destroyed crops and increased spending on pesticides. Some scientists have the number as high as 53 billion dollars and 273 billion if we look worldwide. That’s because bats protects such a wide range of crops from corn to coffee and even cotton. But there’s hope. Scientists have been studying White-nose syndrome since it began killing off bats in the early 2000s. But they didn’t discover that P. destructans was the cause until 2008. The fungus needs to be cold to survive. It also needs to be dark. These two conditions make bats the perfect target. Scientists are seeking a feasible cure. After all, it’s not possible to put antifungal skin cream on an entire colony of that. Because the fungus can only survive in the dark, scientists believe the best solution may be to set up low intensity UV lights outside of bad caves so that every night bats can get a shot of fungus killing rays. But that’s a really expensive solution and would be really hard to implement. So, scientists are still looking, but will need a cure soon. Most scientists hope they can help North American bats hold on long enough so that natural selection can take over. Then the bats can save themselves. Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with crop losses which would lead to an increase in both food scarcity and food price and will create an even higher dependency on processed foods. Hey guys, thank you so much for watching. If you liked what you saw, please like, comment, subscribe. We’re making a lot of fun stuff here at Cheddar and we hope you keep watching.