Everyone knows that warmer weather, mixed with a little rain and lots of sunshine makes for a spring full of bloom and growth. However, it may not be as common knowledge that, just like plants, insect population growth responds to certain types of weather, while being discouraged by some other weather patterns. In particular, temperature and moisture have quite an effect, especially during the warm and dry weather months of April, May, and June.

Temperature has such a significant effect because insects are poikilothermic, which means cold-blooded. Cold-blooded animals are unable to regulate their body temperature, so the environmental temperature affects their internal temperature. Certain insects develop rapidly when environment temperatures are in the 85-90 degree range. Development alone is not the only aspect of insect life affected by temperature, but also insect behavior such as flight, movement, reproduction and feeding. Extreme temperatures, whether very hot (> 120 degrees Fahrenheit) or extremely cold (< 32 degrees Fahrenheit) makes insect growth and behavior restricted and is often deadly.

Moisture is important in a way that most people don’t expect. Humidity itself affects insect development, because low humidity can make it difficult for an insect to regulate it’s water loss. Alternatively, too much moisture, such as excessive rainfall or winter storms, can damage insects. The amount of moisture in an insect’s environment is particularly important for those who depend on crops as their food supply. Cold, wet moisture extremes can also lead to disease, slow growth rates and disturb feeding patterns.

Source

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com