St. Louis has experienced much colder temperatures this year than in past winters. This year’s cold Midwest winter has lasted longer than normal, and it has put much of the area into what appears to be a deep freeze, especially during the Polar Vortex. One would naturally assume that our reward for this frigid season would be an easier summer when it comes to bugs and pests. How can those tiny little pests survive these below zero temperatures? You may be surprised by the answer.
It has crossed everyone’s mind during this cold and snowy winter that the pest population will be greatly reduced this year. Scientists are saying that’s not necessarily so. Bugs have many unique ways of surviving these unusually cold winters. Insects have an inbred mechanism called diapause where their metabolic rate drops in the fall to prepare for winter. They actually produce glycerol compounds that decrease their cell’s freezing point. Research shows they’ll survive temperatures of -25° Fahrenheit. Since the coldest recorded temperature anywhere in the St. Louis vicinity and surrounding areas is -20° Fahrenheit in Chicago, the cold will have little effect on the usual pest season bug population.
There are a few pests we will see less of this year, but many will make their buggy appearance right on schedule. The mosquito population took a small hit, but they will likely be back to full strength by summer. The below zero temperatures froze their eggs left in sewers and ponds. We usually see them return in February, but it will be later this season. In short, it will be short-lived relief. Ticks and chiggers will come through the winter virtually unharmed. Ticks were actually better insulated against the cold because of the snow-covered ground that acted as a temperature barrier. This is similar to how the grubs burrowed into the soil to below the freezing line.
Bugs that did take a hit from the cold include the ash borers who are a threat to the trees. Corn earworms, cottony cushion scales, and the gypsy moth also saw a reduction in numbers.
The majority of these pests have survived very cold conditions in the past. This year won’t be any different. It is unlikely the cold weather reduced the bug population enough that the average homeowner will even notice.
This is why it is just as important as in other years to schedule preventative pest control visits from your team at Bugs by Brian. Pest control experts can do a full inspection of your home to identify any vulnerabilities or existing pest issues, and take preventative measures to keep pest infestations at bay. The pest control professional can spray for unwanted pests so you and your family won’t have to worry about uninvited pests.
If any infestations are discovered, pest control experts take the necessary steps needed to get the situation under control quickly and effectively before the worst of the buggy season hits. We always recommend setting up regularly scheduled recurring pest control visits, which are often offered at a discount as part of a package, instead of the more expensive individual appointments when you already have a problem. Contact us today to set up your pest control appointments and stop the pest problems before they start.