Early spring produces early pest seasonWhile many people are enjoying the unusually warm temperatures, many pests are enjoying them as well.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
While many people are enjoying the unusually warm temperatures, many pests are enjoying them as well.
“Since we’ve basically had spring since February, we have seen earlier calls on insects than we normally do,” explained Lisa Martini, land maintenance supervisor for Pestop Pest Control in Red Wing.
Box elder bugs, lady beetles, ants, mosquitoes — you name it, residents have already battled it. Long Minnesota winters are what typically help keep residents free of annoying bugs until mid-to-late April. But the frosty months were hardly existent this year, which was a stark contrast to the 2010-11 season.
“Last year we had winter all the way up until April,” Martini said. “That’s what keeps us pretty safe up here in Minnesota is we usually have that killing-off season.”
Warmer-than-normal temperatures have made the first few months of 2012 less of a killing season and more of a spawning one. Stocking up on insect repellants — sprays, candles, lotions or fluorescent lights — would be a wise decision.
“Mosquitoes and ticks will be bad this year,” Martini said, adding that she’s already had to pick ticks off of her kids.
Red Wing School District nurse Kris Klassen has encountered the same situation.
“I just saw a student Monday or Tuesday and they were like, ‘What’s on my head?’” Klassen explained. “So I’m feeling around and sure enough it was a tick.”
Klassen said the teenager had been walking out near a more wooded area, but that’s not the only place ticks can be found. Another one of her students was just walking through regular grass when he discovered a tick crawling up a leg.
“We’re supposed to have snow on the ground right now. We’re not supposed to have grass,” Klassen said.
All Midwesterners know the weather up here is unpredictable: A person can go out for breakfast wearing a winter coat and be down to shorts and a T-shirt by early afternoon. But even if temperatures decide to dip below freezing in the coming weeks, the insect issues still won’t be solved.
“Because the larvae are in the soil already we would have to have like 20-below temperatures … to at least kill off the population of insects that are in the soil,” Martini explained.
In addition to insects, a larger kind of pest could also increase in population as a result of the weird weather conditions.
“This past winter was close to ideal for mice reproduction,” explained Todd Leyse, president of Adam’s Pest Control, a pest management company with locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. “Two mice can produce over 3,000 offspring in one year. Our extended warm season could result in four times the typical mice population this fall.”
Although comfortable temperatures made it easier for many people to appreciate winter this year, those same temperatures are what might make it more difficult to enjoy the remainder of seasons to come.