This winter has been the 4th warmest on record. As a result my INBOX and my voice mail has been full of messages asking questions about what the warm winter is going to do to insect problems. Obviously the press has picked up on it and marketing agencies as well in hope of selling more insecticide earlier in the year. Bottom line is that I don't think we will have much of a change in the abundance of insect pests this year. Yes, they probably will be earlier, as much as three weeks earlier (fire ants really never stopped!). But I do NOT expect us to be overrun by insects this summer. For the most part that ended most of my interviews with reporters and writers because they were looking for something big, but I'm not going to mislead on this one In fact, the dry weather from this winter may actually reduce the number of insects we see this summer.
I am not encouraging anyone to sit back and drop their guard, in fact we need to be more on top of our insect problems since they will probably start earlier this year. Don't go out and stock up your inventory of insecticides because you think the plague is coming.
Prepare as you always do, but prepare a few weeks early.
Wm. Neal Reynolds Professor