White-nose Syndrome and Minnesota's Bats

bat afflicted with geomyces destructans fungus

Tri-colored Bat (formerly known as Eastern Pipestrelle) showing signs of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus linked to WNS

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a devastating disease responsible for the deaths of nearly 7 million bats in eastern North America. Since it was first observed in a New York cave during winter 2006/2007, WNS has spread swiftly to 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces causing massive die-offs of hibernating bats. All four bat species that hibernate in Minnesota are vulnerable to this disease—Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Northern Long-eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis), Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), and Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus).

Bats are a critical part of Minnesota's ecosystems, consuming vast numbers of insect pests that spread disease and damage crops and forests. During summer, a nursing female bat may consume up to it body weight in insects each night. The value of bats to Minnesota agriculture has been estimated at $1.4 billion per year.This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Most recent news

Why we're concerned

The Spread of WNS

The spread of WNS across North America. This slideshow requires the latest version of Flash Playerspread of White-nose syndrome as of Aug 5th, 2013

Updated November 16, 2015. Re-examination of the 2010 specimen from Oklahoma has led to the removal of that state from the list of suspected or confirmed WNS states and provinces. Map design by Tom Klein/MNDNR. Map features provided by Cal Butchkoski and Lindsey Heffernan, Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission.

What we're doing

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) is the lead agency for WNS response in Minnesota. Staff from the Minnesota Biological Survey, Parks and Trails, and Nongame Wildlife monitor the health of Minnesota's bats. We collaborate with other state and local organizations, academic researchers, and with federal, tribal, and non-government agencies across North America to better understand WNS and find ways to limit its spread.

What we are doing about WNS.This slideshow requires the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.


Recently DNR staff assisted cavers visiting Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park with implementing WNS decontamination procedures.

What we are doing about WNS.This slideshow requires the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.




(Click a question to view or hide the answer)

What is white-nose syndrome?

How is WNS transmitted?

Is WNS dangerous to humans?

What are signs of WNS?

What should you do if you find dead or dying bats, or if you observe bats with signs of WNS?

What species of bats are affected?


What you can do

Further information

Media Resources

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