10/18/14 2:00pm
10/18/2014 2:00 PM
A baby brown bat. (Credit: Courtesy of Organization for Bat Conservation)

A baby brown bat. (Credit: Courtesy of Organization for Bat Conservation)

Don’t be afraid of that dangling bat this Halloween — odds are it’s not real.

Biology experts warn that North American bat populations — including those found on Long Island — are declining, and at an alarming rate due to a newly documented condition known as White Nose Syndrome.

“Bats that are common to the North Fork are some of the most threatened bat species,” said Bill Schutt, a zoologist and professor at LIU Post who is an expert on endangered bats. “The most common here is the little brown bat.”

Mr. Schutt will discuss local bat populations Sunday at a North Fork Audubon Society workshop at Peconic Lane Community Center. The workshop starts at 2 p.m.

Mr. Schutt said bat species don’t get the credit they are owed, overshadowed by myths and the common perception that the flying mammals are just rodents.

“Bats take over the birds’ job at night,” he said, explaining that significant losses to bat populations could mean an increase in insect populations.

“The more insects that are present, the more insecticides will be used, entering in the environment and collecting in the water table,” he said.

One little brown bat consumes thousands of insects each night, eating its body weight in food, according to the nonprofit organization.

A total of nine bat species live in New York, none of which are considered “vampire bats,” which drink blood and likely drive the misconception of bat populations. Those species are found in southern Mexico, Central America, and South America; the bats drink blood of cows, goats, pigs, and chickens, according to the organization.

This time of year, bats will be heading north, to the mines and caves of upstate New York and Pennsylvania, and as far north as Canada, where they go into hibernation. In those caves bats are catching White Nose Syndrome, a white fungus that thrives in cold environments. It grows on a bat and can wake it from hibernation, wasting its precious stored energy and often contributing to its death.

The fungus has killed an estimated 5.7 million bats in eastern North America since it was documented in the 2006-’07 winter, killing 90 to 100 percent of bats in caves affected by the fungus.

“It’s such a horror show,” Mr. Schutt said of entering affected caves.

About 80 percent of deaths in caves he’s researched have been to the little brown bat species, he said.

“There are many other species that are affected, but this one is affected most,” he said.

People can help the local little brown bat population by putting up bat houses and planting wildflower gardens, he said.

Should you find a bat in the attic — especially during hibernation season — let it be, Mr. Schutt said. It will leave come spring, giving homeowners an opportunity to better secure the area.

For more information on bats or White Nose Syndrome visit www.savebats.org.

For more information about Sunday’s event, contact Peggy Lauber at
516-526-9095 or email info@northforkaudubon.org.

(Credit: Courtesy of Organization for Bat Conservation)

(Credit: Courtesy of Organization for Bat Conservation)

10/12/14 6:00am
10/12/2014 6:00 AM

Perhaps it’s a leftover painkiller from recent dental work or a magical stress reliever saved for a future airplane ride.

Or maybe you just didn’t know what to do with it all.

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, a good time to take five minutes to check out your household’s stock of prescription medications and get rid of what’s no longer needed. You’d be surprised by what you might find.

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10/11/14 5:00am
10/11/2014 5:00 AM

• Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead will host an epilepsy support group Monday, Oct. 13, from 7 to 8 p.m. in conference room A on the second floor. The group provides encouragement, acceptance, comfort and empowerment. Patients, friends and family are all welcome. For information or to recommend a speaker, contact Charlie Petersen at CharliePete71@aol.com or 728-2804.  (more…)

10/04/14 6:00am
10/04/2014 6:00 AM

• Dr. Erin McGintee of ENT and Allergy Associates in Aquebogue will give a talk, ‘The Scoop on Seasonal Allergies,’ at Cutchogue New Suffolk Library Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. She will discuss symptoms and management of allergies to common triggers like ragweed and grass pollen, as well as a meat allergy that can be caused by the bite of the Lone Star tick. For information and registration, call 734-6360.

• The Family Service League offers a free caregiver support group to help those who care for frail or elderly relatives cope with the stress inherent in their situations. The group meets at the Riverhead Family Center, 208 Roanoke Ave., at 1 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Call 369-0104.

• North Shore Public Library in Shoreham will host a free Medicare seminar from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17. A professional will provide vital information about understanding Medicare and selecting the appropriate supplement and prescription drug plans. The presentation will include a Q&A session. Registration begins Oct. 1; call 929-4488.

Weekly Al-Anon meetings take place on the North Fork on the following schedule: Monday at 7 p.m. and Tuesday at noon at Cutchogue Presbyterian Church; Wednesday at 7 p.m. at First Universalist Church, Southold; and Thursday at 7 p.m. (open adult child meeting) at Church of the Redeemer, Mattituck.

To send Health Beat news, email dfates@timesreview.com, fax to 298-3287, or mail to Times/Review Newspapers, P.O. Box 1500, Mattituck, NY 11952. Copy deadline: Friday at 5 p.m. to appear the following week.

10/03/14 4:00pm
10/03/2014 4:00 PM
Riverhead High School students count the different types of species caught in their seine. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Riverhead High School students count the different types of species caught in their seine. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Students immersed chest-high in waders as they worked with fishing nets explored East End shorelines Wednesday morning, learning what “A Day in the Life of the Peconic Estuary” is like.

About 400 middle and high school students ditched their classrooms, rolling up their sleeves to collect data samples from one of 11 different beaches in an endeavor sponsored by over 30 environmental agencies to help inspire younger generations to learn about water quality issues.

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