Finally, we’re getting winter weather the way we expect it to be. After a year of record-breaking unseasonably warm temperatures, it’s a welcome change that comes with the hope that this deep freeze will be a sustained one that kills off some of the bugs that seem to overwinter and never die, only to cause us considerable grief in the following summer.
But, in reality, how much does winter effect the mosquito population for the upcoming spring and summer? Not as much as you’d think, according to the Camden County Mosquito Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org). Responding to my emailed questions, they say that this type of weather is typical for this time of year and probably won’t have much effect on the summer’s population. “Asian tigers overwinter in the egg stage, so they are already out there, just waiting for the right temperature and moisture to hatch, usually mid-June. The other major species we’re concerned with, the Culex species, overwinters as adults, usually down deep in sewers and people’s basements.”
While the freeze doesn’t do as much for pest control as was thought, it does provide some assistance in overall plant health. Mild temperatures allow plants to remain active and viable. In some cases, plants will be so confused that they will start to grow; only to cease their growth as another freeze grabs hold. This continual back-and-forth of freezing and thawing could cause some plant roots to heave, or rise to the surface. Heaving damages a plants root structure and ultimately, could kill it. Prevent it by mulching, once you know a freeze has taken hold in the soil. Generally speaking, you can tell when it’s time to mulch when your plants start to shrivel and die. Remember, you’re not trying to keep them warm; you’re trying to keep them frozen and dormant.
There is always hope that an unusually cold winter will delay the onset of any mosquito population but numbers are increasing every year despite the severity of winter weather. Homeowners should continue to maintain clean, debris-free yards as a line of defense. And, as always, they should contact their local authorities with any pest concerns they might have.
For more info: Camden County Mosquito Commission
Mosquito Complaint Numbers
Philadelphia - 215-685-9027
Camden County - 856-566-2945