Invasive Minnesota Bugs May Not Survive This Cold, Snowy Week
We've been enduring a particularly cold and snowy week even by Minnesota standards, but there's at least one good thing about it.
We're in the middle of the most wintery week of the winter so far. First we had between 9 and 12 inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday morning, and now we'll be dealing with temps between 15 and 20 degrees below zero Thursday. Heck, Thursday's high may not even make it above zero! But, we DO have our frigid weather to thank for killing off at least one invasive species here in Minnesota.
You might have seen the meme going around social media that says something to the effect of, "Sure it's 20 below, but on the plus side-- no mosquitoes!" And, as it turns out, that might actually be true-- for some non-native pests.
According to this Washington Post article from 2014, the cold air could be trouble for some pests:
“Following prolonged blasts of arctic air in January 2014, researchers at Virginia Tech University found that the extreme cold killed off 95 percent of stinkbugs they had been studying during the cold snap, according to a report by The Washington Post. The Post reported that the 2014 polar vortex invasion caused temperatures in the D.C. area to plunge into the single digits, but questions remained about how much of an impact the extreme cold had on the stinkbug population at large outside of those being studied at Virginia Tech.”
If you're thinking that other Minnesota pests, like mosquitoes, ticks and termites might also have fallen victim to the cold, not so fast. The report says those native species have, like the rest of us Minnesotans, figured out how to survive the cold-- and will no doubt be back again to pester us once the weather warms up this spring and summer.
According to Brittany Campbell, PhD, Entomologist with the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), "Insects can avoid freezing temperatures by entering buildings or migrating to warmer areas, or they can tolerate freezing outdoors by synthesizing glycerol, a type of insect “antifreeze”, entering diapause, or by burrowing into leaf litter or going underground. Some insects are even able to withstand temperatures well below 0 degrees, with the limit for many insects that can 'superfreeze' being typically around -30 F."