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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

July 23 - Bugs like it hot: Record heat kicks insects into high gear

Article: Signs Of The Last Times
 

As if this summer isn't bad enough already, the unusual warmth is turning bugs extra frisky. "We're calling it a breeding bonanza," says Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association.

Across the country, as a result of record heat, pests from grasshoppers to crickets and ants to bees are arriving earlier and in greater numbers than usual, entomologists at HomeTeam Pest Defense say. "We're seeing an increase in a lot of different pests right now," company entomologist Russ Horton says.

Pest controllers are battling grasshoppers in Texas, ants in Florida, and crickets and bees across the country, he says. "Insects develop more rapidly with higher temperatures," says entomologist David Denlinger of Ohio State University. He adds that insects did well this past winter given the lack of intense cold. Through June, the USA was sweating through its warmest year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Insects such as grasshoppers and crickets can be a nuisance to homeowners, but they are "very devastating" in the agricultural world, Horton says. As harvesting season nears, the ongoing hot, dry weather could have grasshoppers and similar insects feeding in greater-than-normal numbers on alfalfa, tobacco and some vegetable crops, says Lee Townsend, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky.

Forty-seven human West Nile virus infections, which mosquitoes spread, have been reported this year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One man in Texas died from the virus. Drought can drive insects into homes: Ants, for instance, Henriksen says, will come into homes to find water. "If they're not finding it outside, they'll come inside," she says.

 

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