Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Our mild winter may have helped area plants and trees bloom faster, but it could come at a price for every place from gardens to farms.
Tim Williams has more on this potentially buggy spring and summer that could affect everyone.
The calendar finally says spring but for insects, the season began weeks ago.
“Whenever we have an unseasonably warm winter, as we’ve had this year, it simply means the bugs are going to start a lot sooner than they did in a normal year and we’re seeing exactly that. The plants are in bloom, the leaves are on the trees and the bugs are coming,” said University of Maryland entomologist Dr. Mike Raupp.
Raupp is a leading bug expert. He says warm temperatures preceded spring’s arrival by more than two weeks and some bugs had already been sharing warmth inside our homes. But it takes warmer temperatures to get them moving outside and bugs that may otherwise have died or stayed south found ways to survive.
“The insects we worry the most about are the ones with several generations every year, things like the brown marmorated stink bug, the Asian tiger mosquito. When we have a warm year, it means these guys can simply complete more generations,” Raupp said.
An earlier season for bugs means people have to begin taking precautions earlier than usual.
Ticks can pass on serious infections like Lyme disease and mosquitoes that trigger scratching are an agent for West Nile.
“People who go outdoors need to avoid areas with ticks. They need to inspect themselves carefully when they come inside and they need to remove those ticks within the first 24 hours,” Raupp said.
Local pest experts are expecting to sell bug traps and pesticides at an earlier and faster rate than in recent years.