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Fewer Insects Hoped For After Bitter American Winter March 7, 2014
Frost on a fly
"I'm probably one of the few people that really roots for an extremely cold day, because I really do think it helps with some of the major insect problems that we have.” — U.S. Forest Service biologist Robert Venette.
Sub-freezing temperatures for weeks on end this winter across the northern U.S. and southern Canada are leaving insect experts hoping the chill will kill off some invasive species.

Backyard gardeners in the region can also hope for fewer pests this coming summer.

“Given that temps have gotten really cold, and not for one night but for an extended period, there’s a tendency for a lot of people to hope for insect mortality,” said Deborah McCullough, a professor of entomology and forestry at Michigan State University in East Lansing, during an interview with Capital News Service.

The relatively mild winters of the past two decades have allowed some pests to spread northward, like the destructive emerald ash borer and the hemlock wooly adelgid.

But experts warn that not all bugs fall victim to winters like this.

The emerald ash borer can survive by burrowing beneath the insulating bark of its favorite tree and feeding on the moisture and nutrients inside.

Photo: File