Bug Scout 1983
Winter Affects Insects? Don't Bet On It!
(Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University)
I hope this mild winter doesn't bug you!
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March 5, 1983

Anyone predicting high insect populations next summer because of mild temperatures this winter is skating on thin ice!  Just like people, insects are different.  Some like it hot, some like it cold.

Insects that hibernate, like Mexican bean beetles and alfalfa weevils, use up fat reserves during mild winters.  These insects may be weak when spring rolls around and less successful in establishing on new crops.  Corn rootworms survive the winter as eggs and are not likely to be influenced by mild winter temperatures.

Some insects can't even survive a mild Indiana winter.  The potato leaf hopper and armyworm migrate into Indiana each year from more southern areas.  The severity of Indiana winters has nothing to do with the level of problems from those insects.

Predicting insect damage based on winter conditions is a little like betting on horse races.  It's kind of fun, but the odds are against you.

by Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University

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