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Insects Loving Our Winters

This could be a good year for some bugs and not so good for humans. Gene Kritsky is dean of Mount Saint Joe's behavioral and natural sciences department and says the lack of snow and consistently cold weather this winter will help some insects. He says that weather pattern, repeated over several years, will have a noticeable effect.

Kritsky calls it a biological winter and says this area hasn't had that kind of season for several years now.

"We're seeing our insects responding appropriately by coming out earlier, and in some cases, in bigger numbers. Things like mosquitoes, for example, they produce several generations a year, so we saw mosquitoes earlier, and if we continue having a wet summer and a typical warm summer we could have very good mosquito populations," Kritsky says.

Warmer winters could also mean a change in what kind of bugs thrive in the region.

"We'll see insects that occur in more southern states in the past moving northward," Kritsky says. "For example, the Southern Scorpion is moving northward from the southeastern United States. It's been reported now in south central Kentucky. And I had a report last year of people finding it in parts of southern Pennsylvania."

He says mosquitos that carry the Zika virus are not normally found in the Tristate, but could expand their territory northward. Kritsky says the Centers for Disease Control does not expect the breed to have a significant presence locally.

"We're right at the northern end of where that mosquito occurs. As it gets warmer, that range may move northward, but that doesn't guarantee that the Zika virus is going to come with it."

According to the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana departments of health, there have been no Zika cases transmitted by mosquitos locally.

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