How Weather Changes Affect Insect Problems
You have waited for a couple of months for the weather to warm up, and now it is finally here: Spring! While walking your child to the park, you are about to remark on the beauty of the day, when your mouth inhales a hefty Junebug. You choke for a moment and your eyes water. This moment would have been quite hilarious except you now think back to the day before when you were stung by a wasp in your backyard, and the trail of black ants that have somehow made their way into the bathroom upstairs. You are being overtaken by bugs! So, why does it seem that climate change dictates the presence of insects? Entomologists have long known the two main driving forces in the abundance of insects: temperature and moisture.
Temperature: Unlike humans and many animals, insects are poikilothermic (cold-blooded). Have you ever noticed how slowly flies move during the winter season? You could literally catch one with your hands. Additionally, insects do not function as well in extremely hot weather. Have you seen bugs out and about on a 120+ degree day? This is because flies and other insects like bees and beetles cannot regulate their body temperatures internally. Their internal heat coincides with outside temperature stimuli. As a result, other behavioral activities such as reproduction and feeding are affected by temperature as well. You will not see too many insects in the dead of winter or summer.
Moisture: Surprisingly, many insects do not hydrate on the free supply of rainwater; rather, they derive their water from plants and crops. To illustrate, John C. Palumbo of Yuma Agricultural Center in Yuma, Arizona declares, “Liriomyzaleafminers spend their entire egg and larval stages inside melon or lettuce leaves, extracting water and nutrients from plant tissue”. Spring is prime time for plants, flowers, and crops to come into full bloom. More food sources equal more insects, which is why you will see fewer bugs in the winter when crops are not at their peak production.
To control and repudiate these pests, pest-control is needed year-round, ideally. However, it is imperative that you take care particularly during the months of April-September, so that whenever you do scream at the sight of a black widow in your bedroom, you can rest assured that it will not be a regular occurrence!