Will A Warm Winter Mean More Bugs?

Mosquito signings and tick warnings issued

Sunday, Mar 11, 2012  |  Updated 2:13 PM EDT
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Will A Warm Winter Mean More Bugs?

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The unusually mild winter could have an irritating side effect in spring and summer.

Experts say that many insects who normally make their presence felt in the hotter months of the year could appear earlier than usual this year due to the warm temperatures.

Some may have already started. According to the Washington Post, a branch of the pest control company Orkin in Montgomery County has already responded to mosquito sightings this year. Meanwhile, the Fairfax-based National Pest Management Association has issued an early warning for ticks. 

"These things are cold-blooded," University of Maryland entomology professor Mike Raupp told the Post. “Whenever we have a warm winter, they’re going to be out earlier. How do you stop them? You pray for cold weather.”

The early arrival of bugs like aphids and spider mites could mean increased pesticide costs for farmers and increased risk to a crop. Urban residents are being warned to keep an eye out for termites in their houses.

But the warm winter isn't necessarily good news for insects. Instead of hibernating, some are becoming active and eating food stored for the winter. And in areas where there has been little snow or rain, bee experts are worried that will hurt the growth of spring flowers bees depend on for nectar.

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