RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The unusually warm winter here has brought early signs of spring including daffodils, honey bees, some butterfly's, and even ants...so does this mean we'll be overwhelmed with insects when real spring gets here?
"I don't think so, because the number of insects that will emerge with spring is going to be the same number that was determined before the mild winter ever got started," said Entomologist Dr. Art Evans.
But some hearty insects might be able to take advantage of a warm stretch of winter days to produce an extra generation.
"Whether or not they will have the opportunity to take advantage of this warmer weather and reproduce one or two more generations, we don't know, it really depends on each and every species involved," Dr. Evans said.
Exceptionally warm days followed by very cold days could prevent this from happening, it's a delicate balance.
On the flip side, does a really cold winter ensure us of fewer pests in the spring and summer?
"Most of the insects that are found around here are adapted to the cold weather to begin with, so it's unlikely that cold weather will have any negative effect on their populations," he added.
Although our winter is running well above average, we've had enough ups and downs in the temperature such that we should expect to see a pretty typical insect population this year. Sustained periods of extreme cold or warm weather can have an impact, but that is not the norm and the insect population is largely decided well before the first freeze.