National Bat Week, a campaign to inspire Americans to help protect bats, kicks off October 26th. This initiative is important to Colorado, home of 18 species of bats, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) who is monitoring bat hibernation sites this winter for the effects of White-nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS, which is caused by a fungus known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is responsible for large scale bat die-offs in the Eastern United States, in some cases killing 100% of the bats in a site. WNS is named for the white powder seen on the nose, ears, and wings of infected bats. It has not been found in Colorado, however since first documented in a New York cave in 2007, WNS has spread to 25 states and 5 Canadian provinces. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking the public to report the sighting of any active or dead bats this winter. CPW would also like to know of any sites, especially in eastern Colorado, that have hibernating bats so biologists can include them in the monitoring effort. Finally, the public is asked to not disturb hibernating bats and to respect cave closures. All the bat species found in Colorado are insect eaters, in some cases eating thousands of insects a night. This diet of night flying insects makes bats important for the control of agricultural and human pests. You can learn more about bats and National Bat Week by clicking here.