Cold snap reduced some pests, others unaffected

Cold snap reduced some pests, others unaffected
(Source: Jeff Davis/LSU AgCenter)

Good news after record-breaking cold temperatures in Louisiana this month - fewer bugs.

According to the LSU AgCenter, many crop pests did not survive the cold snap. That's great for farmers who are preparing for the upcoming growing season.

The bad news is mosquitoes, ticks and other pesky pests were not affected by the weather.

Stink Bugs, loopers, armyworms

Enemy No. 1 for soybeans is the redbanded stink bug, according to entomologist Jeff Davis. He says after the cold weather, it will be difficult to spot any of these insects north of Interstate 10.

"From our observations, anytime you have temperatures below 23 degrees for 10 hours, you will see reductions of approximately 90 percent of redbanded stink bugs," Davis said. "We were colder than that and for much longer than that."

Davis said corn earworm numbers will also be reduced.

Unfortunately the threat still looms from soybean loopers and fall armyworms, which come to the Bayou State later in the year. Also, the cold weather was harmful to the beneficial bugs.

Weevils

"I expect to see the populations of the weevil crash," said entomologist Rodrigo Diaz.

Weevils play a crucial role in managing giant salvinia, an aggressive weed in freshwater habitats.

"Salvinia can be protected from the cold in tree crevices or under plant debris. If all the weevils in an area died, it will be very easy for the plants to regenerate and take over an area," Diaz said.

Mosquitoes and ticks

AgCenter medical entomologist Kristin Healy said the freezing temperatures won't do much for mosquito control.

"Some of the mosquitoes we have here are also found in New Jersey, so they can tolerate cold weather," Healy said.

The same goes for ticks.

"Many of the ticks found here are also found as far north as Canada, so they are well adapted to the cold," she said.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved