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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Invasion Season (AKA: Aliens in the air)

I’ve talked about weather, its effect on pests, and the randomness of some insect “explosions” that happen. This is not like the cicada brood emergence; that’s a regular 13 or 17 year happening. We are talking today about those weird times when an insect (or other arthropod) comes out in massive numbers while in other years it’s more “normal.

 

Right now, we have a few “outbreaks” going on in the US. Mormon crickets are coming out in massive numbers in Nevada. These are in the family that also includes katydids and bush crickets. Mormon crickets are not a true cricket. Despite not having wings, they can travel over a mile each day, eating their way through crops and any vegetation they can find. While their populations are typically low, at certain times the numbers just explode. They move in large groups and research has shown part of the reason they do this is to keep the individuals in the back from eating the ones in front! Yep, they are cannibalistic.


Not only is this annoying for people, it can be dangerous. The sheer number of these on the roads can cause vehicles to skid and crash.

 

Next up is the midges, specifically the non-biting midges. Right now this is happening around some of the great lakes and it has been so bad in parts of Ohio that these swarms are showing up on weather radar. While they look like miniature mosquitoes, they don’t bite and don’t transmit any diseases. Midges are aquatic as larvae so these are going to occur around ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. The good news about midges is that the adults are fairly short lived. While midges may exist all summer long, the huge swarms won’t be around for long.



Many species of midges can survive in fairly polluted waters that many other aquatics can’t. That means they have lots of food sources because there isn’t competition and fewer predators.

 

Lastly, we have the scorpions, particularly in Nevada. Once again, it’s hard to say why this is happening because so many factors, especially weather, are involved. The scorpion causing issues this time is apparently the Arizona bark scorpion. Females can live for up to six years and the large numbers of them now indicate they’ve had quite a few productive years in a row. As with all scorpions, these can sting and they do have a particularly painful venom. Good news is that there have only been two recorded deaths since 1968. That doesn’t mean you won’t wish you died if the pain is bad!



Scorpions are amazingly resilient. Apparently, when atomic testing was going on, scorpions were found near the center of explosions and were unaffected.

 



I’ve also heard from many pest management pro’s that ants as a group have been causing more problems this year.

 

What’s been “bugging” you this year? Contact us, we can help you with that.


Lagniappe - I have no words.

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