SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana’s unseasonably warm March has lured bugs out
of their winter slumber, giving both friendly insects like butterflies and
pests like wasps an early start to the season.
Although temperatures recently vaulted into the 80s across the state,
Indiana’s winter was also mild and experts said that allowed more insects to
survive the cold-weather months.
Dr. Mariah Covey of the Kryder Veterinary Clinic in Granger wonders whether
the state’s tick season ever ended because of the mild winter.
"It’s hard for me to say if there’s a higher number, but what I can tell you
is we’ve had complaints all winter long,” Covey told The South Bend Tribune.
Jeff Burbrink, the extension educator-agriculture at the Purdue University
Extension Service in Goshen, said there’s no way to know whether spring’s
early start will result in a more problematic summer for ticks, which are
not insects but relatives of spiders.
He said while it’s unusual to see bugs of all sorts in the quantities they
are being seen right now it’s not that surprising considering the
unseasonable warmth that made for summer-like heat in the past week.
“The bugs are all thinking it’s late April, too,” Burbrink said.
He said that despite the abundance of bugs now, nature has its ways of
balancing out things. For instance, birds will snap up insects and other
tasty pests during the nesting season.
“What tends to happen if you get an insect that tends to survive very well
or over winter, chances are good that there’s going to be something that
also survived very well and attacks them,” Burbrink said.
In southwestern Indiana, the Vanderburgh County Vector Control has gotten
reports of mosquitoes along with ticks and brown recluse spiders, said
supervisor Keith Goy.
But he said workers have not found many instances of potential mosquito
breeding havens. He encouraged residents to continue to eliminate stagnant
water on their property to help keep the pesky insects to a minimum.
“We’ve gotten complaints on people being bitten. But our searches for
mosquito larvae and standing water haven’t found much of a problem yet,” Goy
told the Evansville Courier & Press.
John Foster, executive director of the Wesselman Nature Society in
Evansville, said the upside of the warm weather is that even though pests
have emerged early, so have attractive insects such as butterflies.
“So along with all the bugs that people may not particularly care for, some
of the more beautiful bugs are also out,” he said.