Cold winter may reduce number of pests

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– If you are looking for any kind of positive spin on our weather this winter, it could be arriving a few months from now.

Entomologist Chris Hartley says it`s possible our cold winter will put a dent in the population of certain pests.  Hartley is the coordinator of science education for the Missouri Botanical Garden`s Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House at Faust Park in Chesterfield.

“We may see some pest species taking a hit,” said Hartley.

He said some pests have moved north into Missouri the past several years because the past few winters have been mild.

“By creeping north like that, they`re entering places where they normally wouldn`t have been,” explained Hartley.  “They are susceptible to maybe getting frozen back some.”

There have been reports that the emerald ash borer, a pest known to cause severe damage to certain trees, has taken a hit from bitterly cold temperatures in Minnesota.  Hartley does not believe it`s been cold enough in Missouri to have a significant impact on the emerald ash borer in our area.  He says we won`t know for sure until the spring.

When it comes to mosquitos, Hartley says don`t count on the cold to reduce the summertime population.  He says the best weapon against mosquitos is to get rid of pools of water in the summertime.  Mosquitos hibernate in the winter.

He does think it`s possible the population of some ticks and flies will be reduced.  He said our butterfly population should not take a hit because of the cold.  He said some butterflies hibernate in their adult state and can survive this winter weather.

The Butterfly House is home to many tropical butterflies in a controlled, 85 degree environment.  For more information go to www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/visit/family-of-attractions/butterfly-house.aspx

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