WTOP news published on 4/5/12 an article discussing concerns the University of Maryland entomologists have about the 2012 stink bug population. If you hate stink bugs and like to watch them die, the article is worth looking at just to see the photo of a praying mantis “feasting” on a stink bug. Not surprisingly, the story suggests that this year could be really bad for stink bugs, mosquitoes, ticks. First, the article points out that the mild winter did not kill off as many of the bugs as a harsh winter would have. University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp tells WTOP that bugs that have multiple generations could be extremely bad this year. Included in this group: brown marmorated stink bugs, Asian tiger mosquitoes, spider mites, etc.
The article states: “Although Raupp said it’s not definite that pesky insects like mosquitoes and Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs — which are native to Asia and invaded the area several years ago — will be more prevalent this summer, some signs are already favoring the critters.” Additionally “[University of Maryland pest management specialist Galen] Dively said the advantage could be particularly strong for stink bugs.” The only thing the article suggests could suppress the bugs: weather. “Dively said a wet spring or extremely hot summer could end up suppressing populations that would have otherwise thrived.
‘The weather in the spring or summer can actually change the whole scenario real quick, that’s why it’s hard to predict anything,’ Dively said. That is an interesting quote because WTOP has posted the audio of an interview with Raupp where he worries that 2012 is starting to shape up like 2010, which he called a “watershed” year for stink bugs. In Western Maryland the summer of 2010 seemed extremely hot to us, with several consecutive days of 100 degrees and the region being declared to be in drought. Even with that extreme temperatures many compared the 2010 stink bug problem to a biblical plague. So far (April 5, 2012), we at Mosquito Squad are hearing many people report mosquitoes already in their yards, reports of deer ticks, and many other insects getting started weeks before they normally do. It appears to us that rain was more of a suppressor for the stink bugs than hot temperatures. As discussed earlier, a warm drought led to massive stink bug invasions. Meanwhile, last year was extremely wet. While we had and have several customers with huge stink bug problems last year (and this spring), we note that the rain seemed to suppress some stink bug migration to homes in some areas. If Raupp is correct that this year is shaping up like 2010, we should prepare for it. Our customers have reported great satisfaction with the control we have achieved for them. One researcher from the University of Maryland told us it is advisable to treat for stink bugs early. We could not agree more.
Meanwhile, other articles have suggested that the tick population may be aggressively biting humans this year. One such article says that acorns are in a down part of their cycle. What does that have to do with ticks? Field mice eat acorns and without that food source, their populations could diminish. Deer ticks often get their first blood meal from mice. With less mice, the deer ticks will need to search out other sources, including humans, for their blood meals.
In that case the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be sound advice.