Thursday, April 10, 2014

Expect to see spring pests despite extreme cold winter

MANHATTAN, KAN. — We are finally catching a break from the long, cold winter, but if you're hoping that the extreme cold has killed off spring pests, you're out of luck, according to Jeff Whitworth, associate professor of entomology at Kansas State University.

"Whether they're going to survive is not the question," Whitworth said. "It's probably how many are going to survive."

Whitworh says you're going to need to pull out bug spray this spring. Insects start coming out around the same time flowers start blooming. While we may see fewer insects at first, most of the insects will survive the colder temperatures.

Bugs have adapted procedures, like producing antifreeze or crawling into a warmer area, to protect themselves from the harsh temperatures in the winter. Even though temperatures this winter were colder than usual, Whitworth says these adaptive techniques help them survive.

"Insects are heterotherms," Whitworth said. "They are 100 percent controlled by temperatures."

Whitworth says warmer weather is more detrimental to insects than extreme cold.