Insects deal with unusually warm temperatures

Apr 2, 2012

This year's mild winter and early spring has plants flowering and putting out leaves about three weeks sooner than usual. Some insects are out early too, but that may not mean it's time to stock up on extra bug spray.

Warm weather means more bugs, right?

But, says Missouri Department of Conservation biologist Mike Arduser, for pests like fleas and ticks, the availability of host animals is more important than temperature. And mosquitoes need rain and standing water to breed.

The bigger question, Arduser says, is whether insects like bees and butterflies are keeping pace with the early spring.

"Are these plants that are flowering now getting pollinated? I mean are the pollinators on the same schedule? The same goes with, you know, herbivorous insects. The caterpillars that eat certain leaves."

Arduser says that while some native insects have emerged weeks early, others have not.