April 6th, 2018 8:10 PM by Dan Howard
By Caroline Picard
Apr 4, 2018
Don't let the recent snowfall across the country fool you. Spring is coming and while warm weather, flowers, and sunshine await, so do ticks, ants, and mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released its bi-annual Bug Barometer last week, and the forecast for this season's pest populations doesn't look good.
Drawing on weather patterns and long-term predictions, the entomologists believe everyone's least favorite neighbors will arrive in full force once the country warms up. You can thank an extra-wet winter and La Niña — the cool phase of a natural climate pattern in Pacific Ocean — for creating conditions very favorable to these intruders.
“This year’s La Niña brought unusual moisture, sleet, and snow to southern areas that are typically much warmer and drier this time of year, while conversely, areas like the Northwest that are usually colder in the winter had much milder weather,” explained Jim Fredericks, Ph.D. in a press release. “Residual moisture is a prime attraction for pests, especially home-damaging termites and mosquitoes known for transmitting disease, and conditions are ideal for when these pests typically flourish in the springtime.”
Rising temperatures that come with the change of seasons also prompt major tick activity. “Tick populations will continue to boom with the onset of even warmer weather ahead,” Fredericks said. Vets across the country have already noticed a major increase in the number of parasites they've spotted on pets this year, and summer's still a long way off.
Here's exactly what you can expect in your region of the country this spring and summer:
Northeast and New England
Thanks to multiple heavy snowstorms and persistent cold weather, rodents will continue to seek food and shelter indoors. Once spring finally arrives, a greater-than-average tick population will emerge, the NPMA predicts.
Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Midwest
The drier conditions further west will prompt ants to seek moisture indoors this spring, with a boon of ticks expected later this season as well.
Even though the South experienced atypical cold this winter, an accumulation of moisture will help mosquitoes thrive quickly. Termites and cockroaches will also start appearing in above-average numbers soon.
Fly, ant, and — you guessed it — tick populations will likely explode in the Plains region thanks to unseasonably high temperatures.
Prolonged moist conditions up your risk of termites (ick), with an influx of roaches remaining a concern as the mercury rises.
The mild winter personally felt like a blessing, but warm conditions also helped ants survive the season. Now the insects will begin expanding their colonies for spring, with ticks also benefiting from the early thaw.
Above-average temps this winter will also translate to more ants and cockroaches arriving earlier than usual.
Wherever you live, one of the best preventative measures you can take is sealing up your house against potential invaders. Filling cracks with caulk or steel wool, repairing torn screens, and replacing door sweeps can deter many pests from making themselves at home.