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The Polar Vortex Vs. Insect Populations.

We’ve had a tough, cold winter this year. One would think freezing temperatures would result in complete elimination of the pest population, but sadly that’s not the case. That being said, I’m sure you’re wondering which pests have survived and are still crawling around your home and which ones have suffered casualties. You’ll find the answer you’re looking for below!

List of Pests that Dropped In Population This Winter (The Good News!)

With the help of this year’s icy cold Kansas City winter, these are the bug populations that are currently suffering:

  1. 1) Stink Bugs
  2. 2) Emerald Ash Borere
  3. 3) Southern Pine Beetle

Studies by Virginia Tech field researchers showed that The Polar Vortex may have killed up to 95% of the invasive stink bug population this season. You may still be seeing a few of them hibernating in your home, but think about the numbers that COULD have been crawling around if we’d experienced warmer weather this season. This is a big relief for all of us as stink bugs have the potential to invasively spread throughout the U.S. High levels of stick bug infestations have the potential to be extremely harmful to the agricultural industry, as they destroy crops. Other pests (less common in Missouri or Kansas), like the emerald ash borer and the southern pine beetle, have also had a hard time this season. Bad news for the bugs, but good news for us!

List of pests that survived the winter (the bad news)

These guys are tricky. They have ways of surviving harsh winters through hibernation techniques. Even if adults freeze, they may have already laid eggs which will hatch once the weather warms.

1) AntsAnts usually survive the harsh winters of Kansas City.

According to PestWorld.org, ants are very successful at overwintering in the great outdoors, including our own yards. During the fall months, ants indulge in vast amounts of food with the goal of putting on fat to survive for weeks on end without eating. As the winter chill arrives, their body temperature – and productivity – significantly decreases, so they seal up their colony and hunker down in deep soil or under rocks until Spring has sprung.

2) Bed BugsBed Bugs survive the winter and you will need a bed bug exterminator in the spring.

Bed bugs can NOT withstand high heat temperatures (and this is why we use electric heat treatments to eliminate bed bugs) – all stages die instantly at 122 degrees. They can, however, survive nearly freezing. They do often succumb after a few days of exposure to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The bad news is our homes or public transportation provide the perfect habitat for bed bugs to survive during the winter months.

3) CockroachesUnfortunately cockroaches live through the winter and require extermination in the spring.

Cockroaches have been around for 250 million years and have survived many extinction events, including the end of the dinosaurs. We’ve all heard (true) horror stories about how their headless bodies can live on for several weeks, and their disembodied head for several hours. Most of the 50-plus United States cockroach species can survive year-round, as long as they have easy access to a warm, moist environment.

But the question is, can they survive freezing temperatures with ice and snow?

The answer is yes, and you’re not going to like this…They’re able to survive the winter by camping out in your homes – in cracks and crevices, behind picture frames, appliances, and near water sources. Keep on the lookout in your bathroom and kitchens, even in the sleepy Kansas City winter months!

4)  MosquitoesMosquitoes lay eggs in the winter and require pest control and lawn care in the spring

These biting insects won’t be eliminated during the winter months, but instead, are currently hibernating in protected places like hollow logs. As the Winter weather leaves and Spring arrives, female mosquitoes awaken and seek out a blood source to feed and begin developing eggs. The rainy Spring adds to the Summer mosquito populations as mosquitos breed in standing water.

Tips to keep Kansas City mosquitos to the wayside:

  • Before the “April showers” arrive, begin scouting standing water locations and filling them in, to prevent mosquito populations from camping out in your yard.
  • Schedule monthly mosquito treatments in your yard in the spring, summer and fall months.  This helps combat new breeding cycles.

5)  TermitesTermites live through the harsh winter and need year round pest control

In colder climates, subterranean termites will dig deeper into the soil – below the frost line – to stay warm. In the spring, when the temperature reaches about 70 degrees, we start getting calls off the wall about young male and female termite swarmers emerging from their nests to find a mate and new nest location (often inside our homes.)

A Synopsis Of This Blog Post

Call us today at (816) 444-2847 or click here to schedule a pest control, termite, mosquito or bed bug treatment.

Click here if you need help identifying a bug or insect in your home.

Much of this info was researched and re-shared from Pest World.

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