Spring Weather Affects Insects Activity

Spring weather affects insect activity heavily in Tennessee. As we begin to move toward the end of the winter season we may start to think about spring. When spring begins to appear we also begin to see insects emerging. Many of these insects are considered pests.

During some spring seasons in the past we may have seen more of one insect species than another. Some of this activity may have something do do with the weather.


Insect Life Stages

Many insect species survive over the winter in different life stages. Adults may lay eggs in the fall and the young hatch out in the spring. With some insect species the pupae (cocoon) may stay during the winter months with an adult emerging in the spring. Still other insect species the adults may stay dormant during the winter and become active with warmer weather.

All insects have processes to survive the winter. An egg, a larvae, a pupae or adult of any given insect will wait generally in a protected location until warmer weather arrives. These locations could be tree bark, rocks, logs or even your house.


Mild Winters Affect Insect Populations in Tennessee

Colder or milder winters can have an effect on insect populations. Very cold winters can kill off or push back overwintering insect populations. This often happens with insects migrating into regions and haven’t become acclimated to the local climate yet.

Fluctuating temps during the winter can have major effects on insect populations. For example if there is unusually warm weather during February it may confuse the overwintering insects. The warmer weather may mistakenly trigger them to emerge from their protected location. Once out the returning freezing weather will kill the exposed insects.

If we get an early spring and warm weather stays constant insects will begin to emerge. This early spring may give the insect a longer period of reproduction creating higher populations by late summer. One excellent example is mosquitoes.


Moisture Affects on Insect Populations in Tennessee

Moisture can also have an effect on insect populations. Too much rain in the spring can have an effect. This may increase certain insects that do well with excessive rainfall.  While the opposite is also true where too little rain can reduce populations.

We might think that extreme cold winters might reduce certain insect populations. We have to realize that cold weather can also kill predators and pathogens that will keep certain insect population in check. Warmer winters may allow these factors to keep a particulate insect species at bay.



Some interesting items pertaining to weather and spring insects:

  • All insects will survive the winter in one form or another.
  • Extremely cold winter can make some insect populations worse in the spring and summer.
  • Warmer weather during the winter months can confuse insects to emerge too early and die.


Signs of How Insects Survive Winter in Tennessee

There are some signs around your home that give interesting examples of how insects survive over winter.

During unusually warm days in February you might see a wasp flying around on the inside of your house. The female wasp actually was overwintering in your attic or wall and thought it was spring. It also mistakenly emerged on the inside of your home.

Another example is the Asian lady beetle. These beetles are attracted your your home in the fall an love to overwinter in attic soffits and cracks around window. During warm winter days, they may mistakenly emerge on the inside of your home.

In most cases it may be hard to predict which insects and insect pest will be worse during any given spring. Winter and early spring weather can have a major effect on the outcome.


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