While people in Maine had to endure day after day of subzero temperatures this winter, so, too, did hibernating garden pests.

As a result, chances are good that gardeners won’t have to fend off as many pests as they did last year, said entomologist Dr. Colin D. Stewart.

Harsh winters “are the best thing that can happen from a bug control point of view,” said Stewart, an integrated pest management specialist with the University of Maine Extension Service in Orono.

During his presentation “A Bug-Eyed Look at Maine” last month in Bethel, Stewart brightened the mood of many gardeners, noting which pests would be most affected by this past winter.

Gardeners and woodlot owners could see less aphids and gypsy moths thanks to the subzero chills.

“Our gypsy moth population may be lower this year due to higher mortality because their egg masses were above the snow cover,” he said.

According to the university’s Pest Management Office, gypsy moth infestations are heaviest in central and southern Maine. Overwintering eggs hatch in May.

“Last year, was the Year of the Aphid, because of the mild winter. But this year, I suspect we will not see as much aphids,” Stewart added.

On the down side, the heavy snow cover may bode well for Japanese beetles which hibernate underground below the frost line.

To learn more about Maine’s pests visit the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office at pmo.umext.maine.edu/ipddl/insectfs.htm.

To reference data on a wider variety of pests, visit the Natural Agricultural Pest Information System at www.ceris.purdue.edu/napis/pests.


Facebook comments