Harsh Winter May Leave Less Insects, But Won’t Harm Gardens

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Subzero temperatures and mountains of snow are just a few of the signs of the harsh winter experienced through much of the country. Southeast Ohio has had one of the harshest winters in recent years. Polar vortexes brought low temperatures that many have never experienced up to date. It is clear that the winter of 20-14 will be one not soon forgotten. With this radical weather, some worry that changes can affect the plants and crops in the upcoming seasons. One of the major changes that could affect crops would be the lack of some types of insects.

Jerry Iles, agriculture and natural resources educator at OSU extension office in Hocking County, says “the eggs of a gypsy moth they a lot of times are on the outside of a home or a car or something like that or the bark of a tree and if the temperatures reach ten below or something like that, it’s possible that many of those eggs are killed.”

Iles thinks that even though there were very cold temperatures, many insects will still not be affected. He continues, “Insects have evolved over millions of years, so they’re used to, they have developed mechanisms to survive these very tough winters. “

Local gardeners can be happy about Iles’s prediction.

Michelle Mwaura, local gardener, says that gardening is something she has always done with her grandparents. She says “if the dying of these insects would affect [her gardening], it would be a little upsetting just because it is something that [she is] so used to doing with [her] grandparents.”

Still Iles thinks most of these insects will still be around this year, so, if you are a gardener, and must spray for insects this year, Iles would like you to be cautious  of spraying while plants are in bloom because it can harm the bees.

He says, that they “are really trying to emphasis protecting our bees from pesticides.”  He goes on to say, that OSU extension has incorporated the idea into all of their pesticide applicator training for individuals and farmers. He says, “It’s very crucial that we protect the bees because we need these pollinators for all of our crops, garden as well as field crops.”