Mild Winter Brings More Pests This SpringNPMA Staff
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
According to Punxsutawney Phil, there are six more weeks of
winter, but for much of the country this has been one of the
mildest winters on record. With several bouts of 50 and 60-degree
days, people are delighted and Mother Nature is becoming confused.
Being able to take afternoon walks in winter is a welcome surprise,
but an early influx of pesky insects much less so.
"Many insects hibernate during the cold winter months, but as
this winter has been anything but typical, they may be emerging
from their hiding places much earlier than we expect," noted Missy
Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management
Association (NPMA). "Several states have even reported tick sightings, which is
especially worrisome as people head outdoors to enjoy the weather
and are unprepared for tick encounters."
Insects survive harsh winter temperatures using several
strategies, such as slowing down their metabolism and respiration.
But with the warmer temperatures many are forced out of their
hibernation-like states prematurely in search of food.
NPMA expects increased numbers of boxelder bugs, multicolored Asian lady
beetles and springtails, as well
increased activity in ant
and termite colonies.
Wasp and hornet "future
queens" may also survive the winter, resulting in more colonies in
spring and summer.
To guard against the early emergence of pests, NPMA offers the
following tips for homeowners:
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a
- Keep mulch at least 15-inches from the foundation.
- Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
- Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the
- Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
- Screen windows and doors.
- If you suspect a problem, contact a qualified pest professional
who can recommend the best course of treatment.
For more information on household pests, please visit www.pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000
members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management
industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and