Bug Scout 1980
Utilizing Heat Units
(Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University)
That will teach you not to run around outdoors in the winter wearing those silly short pants!
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January 5, 1980

Insects are cold-blooded organisms!  This means that the body temperature of an insect is close to the temperature in the environment.  For this reason, biological functions of insects depend on temperature.  Up to a point, insects move more quickly, eat more, and grow faster as temperature increases.

Pest management specialists use this basic fact to predict activity of insects.  Heat units are calculated by summing temperatures above temperature thresholds for a specific time period.  The threshold is the temperature where activity begins and is often referred to as the base.  For example, it may take 670 heat units at base 50 for an insect to develop from egg to adult.  Such information is helpful in timing scouting for insect damage.

Heat units are another tool utilized by pest management specialists to help farmers economically control insect pests.


by Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University

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