July 25, 2012
Insects Aren’t Bugged By Summer Heat
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The summertime heat may bug humans, but America´s insect population can´t get enough of it. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), this year´s record high temperatures have brought the bugs out from the woodwork as pests such as ants, fleas, ticks and black widow and brown recluse spiders are increasing.The heat is causing a greater number of insects to come out early in the day to eat and breed, making for some potentially dangerous situations for outdoor loving humans. "We're calling it a breeding bonanza," says Missy Henriksen of the NPMA.
“Insects are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperatures are regulated by the temperature of their environment,” explains Henriksen.
“In cold weather, insects´ internal temperatures drop, causing them to slow down. But in warm weather, they become more active. Larvae grow at a faster rate, reproduction cycles speed up and they move faster.“
What´s more, this past winter´s relatively warm weather also helped many insects breed and thrive, leaving us with more insects than normal to breed and crawl all over the United States.
According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), this year has been the warmest yet on record for the USA, with 20 states recording more than 170 heat records. In addition to creating an unusually fertile environment for insects, the heat is also causing some wide-spread droughts, leaving these heat-scorched areas vulnerable to further pest infestations.
"Grasshoppers should be abundant, because the bacteria and fungi that normally provide natural control are not very effective under hot, dry conditions," said University of Kentucky Entomologist Lee Townsend.
When these pests aren´t breeding and feasting in the hot summer sun, they´re inclined to come indoors to pay us a visit, says Henriksen.
“Hot and dry conditions send many pests indoors, as they seek moisture and cooler temperatures, so homeowners will likely encounter more pests in their homes than usual.”
“Even areas of the country that are receiving rain aren´t in the clear, as standing rain water breeds mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile virus.”
If this unusually hot summer extends into the autumn months, the bugs could continue their wildly decadent breeding and feasting party until the frost chills them out.
The NPMA is suggesting a few precautionary steps for all outdoor-bound Americans to take before stepping outside their homes.
First, the NPMA recommends avoiding areas where insects and pests are known to congregate. Secondly, those who are venturing outside should wear some sort of insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin. If you find any of these pests in your home, the NPMA suggests contacting a licensed pest professional to treat your home and resolve the issue.