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It’s All About Temperature!

By Chris Williams on December 22, 2011.

To say that the weather this autumn has been ‘all over the map’ would be quite an understatement.  Remember the surprise (and historic) Northeaster on October 29th?  Many cities across the northeast shattered snowfall records for the date with some areas recording between 1 to 2 feet of snow!  That event should have been enough to put an end to insect activity for the season, right?  No, because just a few days later, we began one of the warmest Novembers (despite many of us having a ‘white Thanksgiving’ too) on record.  According to the NOAA, the entire US experienced warmer that average temperatures between the Sept-Nov period and some of the New England states recorded their warmest fall ever.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20111207_novusstats.html

What does all this talk about the weather have to do with insect pests?  Well, insects are poikilotherms, which is a fancy way of saying they’re cold-blooded.  During a fall with more normal average temperatures, easily observable insect activity is pretty much over (up in northern New England where I am) by late October into November. This was not at all the case this year!  I witnessed foraging ant activity (odorous house ant) way into November and the usual fall insects we see (cluster flies, wasps, seed bugs, etc.) were active until a couple of weeks ago (2nd week of December).  So the ‘moral’ of the story is that it IS really all about temperature despite what the calendar says.

 

snowAs we say goodbye to autumn, and usher in the first day of winter, the good news is that now the days will begin getting longer again.  That is something we can all cheer about.

Wishing you all a most joyful holiday season!

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