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How Climate Change Affects InsectsPosted April 28, 2022

The effects of climate change are being studied and observed every day, and it’s no different when it comes to its effect on insects. There is a complex interplay happening of varied dynamics from host species (like the plants some insects live and feed on), the amount of rainfall and humidity, and competition from other animals and insects. Rising temperatures can potentially lead to an insect outbreak or population explosion.

Does Climate Change Affect Insects?

Climate change can affect insects in a multitude of ways. An increase in temperature brings an increase in insect activity and metabolism. Areas that receive additional flooding may end up with a boom of vegetative growth, supplying additional food for insects. This may lead to an increase in the population of some species which can lead to the damage of crops.

What Climates Do Insects Prefer?

Insects live in almost every possible habitat on Earth – from our hottest deserts to icy mountain streams. That said, as insects are cold-blooded, they generally prefer warmer environments.

Are All Insects Affected by Temperature?

While insects may be cold-blooded… that doesn’t necessarily mean they are down for the count in cold weather. Many have adapted to make it through winter.

Some follow the simplest solution, of course, which is to pack up and leave. Many insects – like some species of butterfly – are migratory. Many more simply find a warm place to hibernate through the winter. The insects that manage to tough it out have adapted in a way that literally lowers the freezing point of the liquids in their body as if it were antifreeze.

Is Climate Change Good for Insects?

While the warmer conditions brought on by climate change may seem like a boon to insect populations… in actuality, it is proving to be quite dangerous for some insects. In a report from the UK, scientists have noted a widespread decrease in pollinating insects over the last few decades.

Does Temperature Affect Insect Metabolism?

There have been experiments that show as it grows warmer, insects become hungrier. Also, increasing the temperature increases reproductive rates as well. The effects were similar across different insect species. These studies were conducted considering large staple crops like rice, corn, and wheat.

Does Climate Change Affect Insect-Plant Interactions?

As mentioned, higher temperatures come with hungrier insects… as well as more insects overall. The warmer conditions may also be beneficial to plant growth, though the possibility of a severe drought could have adverse effects on their productivity. Again, in an area not used to heavy herbivore activity, it could be quite detrimental to have an insect outbreak.

Plant and insect pollinator ranges are shifting and affect pollinator populations at the edge of their species’ climatic range. Climate change may alter the timing and structure between flowering plants and their pollinator flight periods. For example, climate change may shorten the bumblebee’s foraging season by limiting the availability of either early- or late-season forage for new queens attempting to establish colonies.

Call Fox Pest Control For Peace of Mind

Treating a pest problem as soon as it’s detected can help prevent the entire next generation of pests from finding a home on your property. Make a pest inspection part of your annual routine and eliminate insects before you even see the problem. For help with preventing bugs this Spring, contact Fox Pest Control today.

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