While not many people have enjoyed the Polar Vortex that has brought freezing temperatures and snowstorms to many areas, it may have had at least one positive consequence – killing off stinkbugs. According to researchers who study this phenomenon, below-average temperatures over the winter wiped out as much as 95% of the stinkbug population. This would be welcome news to people who have had to deal with these unattractive and smelly critters.
Since winter typically only kills off about 25% of the population, it would take quite an unusual occurrence to have the majority of them wiped out. This is not something that everyone agrees with. The 95% statistic was touted by an entomologist at Virginia Tech named Thomas Kuhar, who has been studying stinkbug populations for the past several years. While many stinkbugs typically survive the winter, apparently the previous winter’s Polar Vortex was too cold for them and a high percentage of the population died off. According to Kuhar, the frequent fluctuations in temperature over the winter were especially devastating to the insects.
Not everyone agrees with these findings, however. The study, after all, was limited to one area over a limited time period. Other researchers have pointed out that many stinkbugs simply keep a low profile in winter, by finding warm spots such as in eaves and attics of homes. This means they are likely to reappear again next summer and fall, as usual. While we can hope that the Polar Vortex wiped out most of the stinkbug population, this isn’t something we should count on. Stinkbugs have proven themselves to be very resilient. While we will have to wait and see who is right, the fact is that homeowners should be prepared to deal with the presence of stinkbugs as the weather gets warmer.
Harsh weather does tend kill an adult population of stinkbugs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most adult insect populations die off in the winter as part of their natural life cycle. What really determines the level of a new population of insects in the spring months, is the reproduction from previous years. It’s common to study the prevailing climactic conditions over the past five years, before making predictions regarding
the severity of a seasonal insect population.
Here in Missouri, our weather conditions have been extremely favorable towards sustaining high reproductive rates among most insect species. Most species lay their eggs in cocooned (or some type of webbed) structures and locate them in an area where they would be protected from external variables like weather and other predators. My prediction for this spring is going to be “buggy.”
Stinkbugs are flying insects with an appearance similar to beetles. They are originally from Asia, and have only been noticeable in the U.S. during the last decade or so. Now, however, they are quite common and large infestations are common in many homes throughout the nation. As their name suggests, stinkbugs release an unpleasant odor as a defense mechanism, making them quite unappealing to have around the house. They can also do damage to certain plants, fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears and pumpkins, so they aren’t exactly welcome outdoors either. If you see stinkbugs in or around your home, it’s a good idea to call an experienced pest control company to deal with the problem.
Struggling with stink bugs? Call Bugs by Brian at (636) 394-0101 today for a free consultation.