Warm winter could have you buggin’ out early
Got an early spring in your step? You can thank one of the warmest winters on record for that. But while the balmy weather may be good for your mood, rumor has it that this will mean more bugs come this spring.
Why? Because during the cold winter months, insects slow down their metabolism and respiration to survive the harsh temperatures, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The unseasonably warm winter this year is forcing these creepy crawlers out of their hibernation-like states prematurely in search of food.
“Many insects hibernate during the cold winter months, but as this winter has been anything but typical, they may be emerging from their hiding places much earlier than we expect,” said Missy Henriksen, VP public affairs for the NPMA, in a press release. “Several states have even reported tick sightings, which is especially worrisome as people head outdoors to enjoy the weather and are unprepared for tick encounters.”
The NPMA is predicting increased numbers of boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles and springtails, as well as increased activity in ant and termite colonies. Wasp and hornet “future queens” may also survive the winter, which means more colonies in the spring and summer. And due to reports of early tick activity, there could be more cases of Lyme disease this year. Click here for information, prevention tips and advice about Lyme disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The NPMA suggests the following to help protect yourself and your home:
• Keep a 1-in. gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
• Keep mulch at least 15 in. from the foundation.
• Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
• Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
• Keep tree branches and plants trimmed back from the house.
• Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
• Screen windows and doors.
• Contact a pest professional if you suspect a problem.