« Western Michigan Weather News

Ag. Weather Outlook 2-21-2014

by Tim Abramowski

You’d think suffering though another round of extreme cold next week would come with at least one benefit.  That seems only fair.  Of course, nature – red of fang and claw – isn’t concerned with ‘fair.’  Then today I came across comments from the capital-weather gang at the Washington Post dealing with a Virginia Tech entomology professor’s finding of this season’s 95-percent overwintering stink bug death rate in a study he’s conducting.  That’s right – after a few months the score is winter 95…stink bugs 5!  I’d label that, ‘benefit.’  Now to see how the stink bug’s failure to produce natural anti-freeze potent enough to cope with a polar vortex or two plays out comes summer.  It’s been a growing problem in D.C. since 2007.  The entomologist concludes there should be significant mortality of brown marmorated stink bugs and other overwintering insects this year. In Michigan the brown marmorated stink bug has been a serious economic threat to our fruit industry since 2010. They gather in the fall to overwinter inside houses, shed and barns.  We’ll see who’s left in a few months.  It’s probably not enough to allow us to overcome the daily misery of this winter.  But it is enough to give us hope for spring.

Rick Shields