Experts: Mild winter means more bugs for summertime

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – It’s the last day of meteorological winter, and the numbers are in.

“It’s the warmest winter, meteorologically speaking, on record,” NEWS10 ABC Meteorologist Tim Drawbridge said.

Its bad news for ski slopes, but good news for bugs.

“It’s probably going to mean a bigger season,” Berkshire County Mosquito Control Superintendent Chris Horton said.

Horton said consistent freezing temperatures and snow help curb the insect population.

“The more severe the winter, the better the chances are that some of those would be killed off,” he said.

But the current winter season has been very mild.

“There will be more eggs that will survive,” Horton said. “There will be more larva that survive, and the warmer the conditions during the mosquito breeding season, the more generations you’ll have.”

There will also be more ticks, according to Horton. Horton said more bugs means more potential for insect borne illness such as Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus.

In Berkshire County, the year with the highest number of mosquitoes infected with West Nile was in 2012, the last mild winter.

If the warmer trend continues, mosquitoes will arrive sooner rather than later.

“A warmer season could advance the development of the mosquitoes by days or weeks,” Horton said.

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