Record warm weather is bringing early return of insects to Western Wisconsin

By: Matt Hoffman Email
By: Matt Hoffman Email

It's been hard not to get outside and enjoy this mid-march heat wave. But, the warm temperatures have led to an early start to the insect season.

I guess that means you have to take the good with the annoying in this case.
People we talked to today say the bugs aren't too bad right now, but they're definitely becoming more noticeable. Some say it's worth it for weather like this!

"Yeah it's great. We can take our kid outside and not have to worry about bundling her up or her being to cold." Steve Oryszczyn and his family are in town from Maryland to visit his family here in the Chippewa Valley. He says he's been shocked by the record warm weather. "Yeah it's very strange. Usually you still expect snow on the ground about this time of the year or maybe it's going to snow," says Oryszczyn.

You may not be seeing snow but you are seeing more bugs. "Yeah you're starting to see more that are flying around. Especially, more of the soft bodied insects,” says Jerry Clark with UW-Extension. Soft bodied bugs like gnats, flies, and even mosquitoes are coming out of hiding.

"So as we start to see the soil temperature warm up or right at the surface since we've had these warm sunny days we start to see more of those soft bodied flying insects be a little bit more prevalent," explains Clark.

He says if the warm weather continues, hard bodied insects will start to come out earlier.
Also, Clark says constant southerly winds lately could lead to the re-emergence of the leaf hopper bug that is a big problem for alfalfa and orchards.

"We could start to see some of the cut worms, especially, vegetable growers and even some of the field crops. We could see issues with cut worms and leaf hoppers are another one that is more common that tend to migrate in on southerly winds."

Clark says it’s still too early to get concerned. He says if we see temperatures in the coming weeks get colder than the 50s it will start to shut down the insects and their numbers will decrease.

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