Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ticks in February

Adult Deer Tick- Wikimedia
An article at livescience.com discusses the downside of the balmy days we are having this winter.  Barb and I have found at least three reasons to look forward to a good hard freeze, and all of them had 8 legs.  Along Bull Creek, one Lonestar tick and two deer ticks have crawled on us this week, and those are just the ones we saw!

We are not alone in this warm spell.  The Northeastern United States is having its fifth warmest December on record.  Minneapolis temperatures first reached zero on January 19th, only seen once before in over 140 years.

What effects can we expect from this?
  • Mosquitoes, ticks and fleas may be out earlier (amen!) and even be more fruitful in multiplying.
  • Plant pests may be out earlier and have a greater impact this year.
  • Plants may come out of their winter protection and bud earlier.  This always raises the concern about a late freeze killing off the buds and their fruits.  The same applies to frogs and salamanders which might end hibernation and then face a killing frost.
As Patrick Byers, horticultural specialist for the University of Missouri Extension points out in the latest edition of Greene Magazine, a late freeze may well kill off many of the emerging pests and their eggs and larvae which are freshly hatched.

Meanwhile you had better get out now and enjoy the warmth while you can.  But remember, that faint crawling sensation might just be Rip Van Tickle waking up from his winter nap.

1 comment:

  1. My sentiments exactly. We need solid cold for a good length of time. How many unseen bugs/germs won't be killed off this year, I wonder?

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