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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 03:36

This cold winter could mean fewer spring pests

   There may be an up side to the cold winter St. Louis area residents are enduring this year.  Entomologist Chris Hartley tells Fox 2 News the extreme cold now could mean fewer insect pests come spring.  
   Hartley works at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House at Faust Park. He says some species of flies and ticks have moved north into Missouri because of the mild winters over the past several years. 
   "By creeping north like that, they're entering ranges where they normally wouldn't have been," Hartley said.  "And they are susceptible to maybe getting froze (sic) back some." 
   Hartley says the deep freeze won't affect the mosquito population, since those pests hibernate.  
   He also says it may not be quite cold enough to put a dent in the population of the Emerald Ash Borer, like it probably has in Minnesota.  But, Hartley says, we won't know until spring.
 
Published in Local News

   Conservation experts aren't sure why, but it seems the yellow jacket population is bigger than usual in the St. Louis area this year.  

   Mike Arduser of the Missouri Department of Conservation told Fox 2 News that the number of calls they've gotten regarding yellow jackets has doubled since last year.  "Yellow jackets are always present and always abundant this time of year, because their colony cycle peaks right about now," he says.

   And that can be a problem when the flying, stinging insects nest too close to humans.  Consumers can buy products to kill the pests themselves, but for large nests, it may be best to call in a professional.  

   Dr. Anthony Scalzo with the Missouri Poison Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center told Fox 2 that too many wasp stings can be dangerous.   Dr. Scalzo says even people who are not allergic can die from too many  stings. "In a toddler, maybe greater than five stings per couple of pounds of body weight" can be fatal, he says.  "In an adult it could be, technically, as few as 30-50 stings from a wasp."

   That's one reason Arduser says wasp and yellow jacket nests should be left alone if the insects aren't bothering anyone. "They're part of the landscape now," he says.  "You just have to sort of learn to live with them like mosquitoes or horseflies or something else.  They'll be gone soon, as soon as it gets cold. 

 

Published in Around Town

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