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Expect to see spring pests despite extreme cold winter

Thursday, April 10, 2014


— We are finally catching a break from the long, cold winter, but if you're hoping that the extreme cold has killed off spring pests, you're out of luck, according to Jeff Whitworth, associate professor of entomology at Kansas State University.

"Whether they're going to survive is not the question," Whitworth said. "It's probably how many are going to survive."

Whitworh says you're going to need to pull out bug spray this spring. Insects start coming out around the same time flowers start blooming. While we may see fewer insects at first, most of the insects will survive the colder temperatures.

Bugs have adapted procedures, like producing antifreeze or crawling into a warmer area, to protect themselves from the harsh temperatures in the winter. Even though temperatures this winter were colder than usual, Whitworth says these adaptive techniques help them survive.

"Insects are heterotherms," Whitworth said. "They are 100 percent controlled by temperatures."

Whitworth says warmer weather is more detrimental to insects than extreme cold.


Jeff Whitworth


Download a high-resolution photo.


This spring may bug you, according to a Kansas State University entomologist. Jeff Whitworth says the extreme cold of this winter won't prevent insects from appearing in the spring — usually around the time flowers start blooming.

Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

Extreme cold winter weather will not kill off insects, says an associate professor in entomology.