White-nose Syndrome in bats
White-nose syndrome and Pd have not been detected in Idaho. However, Idaho Department of Fish and Game is conducting winter hibernacula surveys and responding to reports of bats with abnormal behavior or mortality events.
Bats are an essential and beneficial part of the ecosystem and serve as keystone species for cave habitats. Bats play critical roles in insect control, plant pollination, seed dissemination, cave ecosystems, and provide food for other animals contributing substantially to the economy of Idaho.
Some aspects of the geographic spread of WNS suggest that humans that visit caves and mines may transmit the fungus from infected sites to clean, uninfected sites. Clothing and equipment that are exposed to fungal infected environments are a potential mechanism for spreading Pd, even during the summer when Pd prevalence is low. Because of the devastating effects of WNS, it is critical that people assume responsibility for the potential spread of WNS and take precautions to avoid inadvertent transport of Pd to uncontaminated bats, caves or mines.
For protection of bats and their habitats, the following recommendations should be followed. Comply with all current cave and mine closures, advisories, and regulations on federal, state, tribal and private lands. Follow the current decontamination guidelines for decontamination of clothing and equipment used in caves and mines. Do not transport any clothing, footwear, equipment or gear into or out of Idaho that has been in contact with bats or their environments. Do not use ANY gear or clothing in the western US that has been used in caves, bat hibernaculum or roosts east of the Mississippi River. Clean and disinfect all gear and clothing used in western caves and roosts before entering any other caves or roosts in the west.
Decontamination options include submersion in hot water (131 F or 55 C) for 20 minutes or soaking equipment for at least 10 minutes in a 10% bleach solution, Lysol all-purpose professional cleaner, or Formula 409 as per the WNS Decontamination Protocol.