A hard winter means less bugs in the spring. Right?
Well, not according to the experts.
“From what we’re finding, even with these persistent below-zero temperatures, it’s staying 25, 30, as high as 35 degrees down close to the ground,” Griffin Dill, coordinator for the tick identification program at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office, told the Bangor Daily News this week. “It’s still relatively warm under there … If we have the ticks covered by leaves and covered by a foot or so of snow, chances are, even with these persistent cold temperatures, they’ll be relatively unharmed.”
Having a snow cover definitely helps pests out.
“If the ticks were completely exposed, these temperatures of zero or 5 below or 10 below would certainly be sufficient to kill a number of ticks,” Dill said.
On the up side, some species of mosquito are not very tolerant of frigid temperatures. Tiger mosquitoes are one of these. This is the species responsible for spreading the dreaded Zika virus.
Susan Paskewitz discussed this with Popular Science. She is the chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
“We saw the asian tiger mosquito for the first time in Wisconsin and in a number of states in the Upper Midwest," Paskewitz says. "We’d never seen it here before. And now we’ve got this tremendous cold snap. Since cold is a limiting factor for that species, we likely won’t see it again in the spring. They will not have those physiological mechanisms to get through these kinds of temperatures.”