Whether you chalk it up to global warming or El Niño, there’s no denying the weather today is out of the ordinary. And the wacky winter weather you recently experienced could mean a summer forecast of bugs.
The Effects of Climate Change
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that New England experienced a winter heat wave between late 2015 and early 2016, with all six states seeing record seasonal highs. Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Alaska, snow had to be shipped in for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
NOAA data also shows that the average daytime temperatures in 46 of the 48 contiguous U.S. states were up over the winter. At the same time, this was the 12th wettest winter on record for the continental U.S. Add to this the fact that El Niño is in town pushing the jet stream further north, and the weather today could have a major impact on your pest problems tomorrow.
What Temperature Kills Bugs?
It’s a good question, but experts say that many insects can withstand cold temperatures. In fact, bed bugs could potentially live for weeks at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. And other insects can withstand freezing by burrowing deep into the ground or entering a sort of hibernation called diapause.
So it’s less important to consider what temperature kills bugs than it is to think about what the early onset of heat and humidity means to insect populations. The sooner temperatures warm up, the sooner insects can start breeding. Then those new bugs start breeding, so populations can thrive in spring and summer.
Mix that early hitting heat with the right humidity levels, and the weather today could mean the summer of bugs for you.
Control Your Environment
While this winter was warmer than most, last year’s polar vortex brought historic lows. So it’s clear weather today, can shift drastically from year to year. For example, next December, you could see another wave of unseasonable heat on planet Earth. Or if El Niño makes way for La Niña this fall, you could see serious lows.
To make sure your home can weather these shifting patterns, consider evaluating and upgrading your attic insulation and wall insulation. Installing effective insulation can help keep extreme temperatures and humidity in check.
Plan For Increased Insect Populations
The increased heat and dampness of the winter means the bug community is may be buzzing more than normal this year. Nip that in the bud so you don’t have to spend your summer swatting and scratching.
Keep mosquitoes in check by dumping standing water out of containers like empty flower pots, and by using repellents. Pet owners, take your furry family members to the vet for home flea control meds and get ready for regular vacuuming. And consider a pest control plan now to tackle all the creepy crawlers that can put a damper on beautiful summer days.