Hot and Humid Summer to Have Impact on Fall and Winter Pest
FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the National
Pest Management Association released its Bug Barometer, a forecast
indicating what Americans can expect from pest populations this fall and
winter. From the extreme heat and humidity in the Southeast to record
rainfall in the Midwest, and an ongoing drought in the Pacific Northwest
and on the West Coast – NPMA’s Bug Barometer takes into account the
weather patterns of the summer season in every region of the country.
Spring and summer are typically the most active seasons for the majority
of pests, such as ticks, mosquitoes
and ants, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, the start of
fall doesn’t necessarily mean an end to pest activity, with many of
these pests remaining active until temperatures consistently stay below
the 50-degree mark and they begin to seek overwintering sites.
“Our entomologists analyzed spring and summer weather reports and
patterns from across the country to determine the pest pressure index
each region will experience as we head into the fall season,” said Cindy
Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Weather plays a
critical role in the ability of pests, such as ticks and mosquitoes, to
thrive all year long. Knowing what to expect from the pest population is
critical, especially during this time of year when many of us are
spending more time outdoors soaking up the last of the summer sun – and
potentially exposing ourselves to health concerns such as stings, bites
and even pest-borne diseases.”
The NPMA shares its fall Bug Barometer forecast for each region of the
Northeast: After winter storms and frigid cold battered the
Northeast earlier this year, consistent warmth made May one of the
warmest on record for many cities, including Washington, D.C.,
Burlington, VT, and New York, NY. That was followed by periods of
record-setting rainfall and exceptional humidity, which combined with
the heat to provide ideal conditions for pests. Mosquitoes, especially,
are expected to take advantage of an increase in areas of standing water
and remain active until temperatures consistently dip below 50 degrees.
The summer conditions have also helped tick populations to remain at
average levels, where they will remain well into the fall season. The
heat and humidity have also benefitted overwintering pests, such as brown
marmorated stink bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles that will
begin to gather on exterior walls as they search for winter shelter in
the coming months.
Southeast: The Southeast experienced typical summer weather –
extremely hot and humid – which has allowed for insects to develop
faster than normal. These summer conditions were also ideal for
overwintering pests, such as kudzu bugs, multicolored Asian lady beetles
and brown marmorated stink bugs, as the elevated heat and humidity
encouraged growth and helped provide ample sources of food. Termite
activity may also increase in the Southeast due to an abundance of
moisture, so homeowners should remain vigilant as they may be foraging
throughout the winter, even though they will not be visible until swarms
begin in spring.
Midwest: Record rainfall through June wreaked havoc across much
of the Great Plains and Midwest, causing flash flooding in typically dry
riverbeds. While the much-needed rain helped end an ongoing drought, it
also resulted in an increase of standing water and an excess of mosquito
breeding sites. Mosquito activity will remain high in early fall, until
temperatures consistently fall below the 50 degree mark. Areas that saw
the harshest flood conditions may experience a drop in pest populations,
since developing insects may not have survived the extreme events.
Pacific Northwest: The ongoing drought conditions and extreme
heat experienced by much of this region in the spring continued into the
summer months, with July setting records for heat in Portland, OR,
Seattle, WA and Spokane, WA. While heat is a favorable condition for
pest populations, extreme heat without accompanying rain is less so. One
benefit is that tick and mosquito populations are currently reported to
be low in this region, and will likely remain down this fall. Although
the lower levels of rainfall during the summer months likely didn’t help
ant colonies grow significantly, the search for moisture and shelter may
drive an increase in the number of ants seeking shelter indoors as
temperatures decrease and daylight shortens in the coming weeks.
West Coast: The four-year drought in California has made
international headlines in recent months, but the area did experience
some brief relief during the month of July, when Los Angeles, San Diego
and over a dozen other cities set all-time rainfall records for the
month. However, experts say the rainfall ultimately will not be enough
to stave off the ongoing drought, and areas that received rain, but not
enough to cause flooding, can expect pest populations to be slightly
higher than in recent years. Mosquitoes are the pests most likely to
have benefitted from the recent rain, and will remain active well into
the fall until temperatures consistently remain below 50 degrees.
Southwest: Triple-digit heat was typical across the region for
much of the summer, and Las Vegas experienced the hottest June on
record. More rain than usual has freed many areas from drought
conditions, especially in New Mexico, and the weather patterns have
combined to provide excellent conditions for mosquitoes, ants and flies.
Termite foraging and unseen damage to wood may be higher than usual, and
mosquito breeding sites are likely at a surplus thanks to an abundance
For more information on NPMA’s Bug Barometer and for pest prevention
tips, please visit Pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was
established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment
to the protection of public health, food and property. For more
information, visit PestWorld.org.