Se­vere cold im­pacted stink bugs, wildlife

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

Ihave been track­ing the abun­dance of Brown Mar­morated Stink Bugs since they ar­rived in my area in the lat­ter half of the first decade of the 21st cen­tury. I have also tracked the abun­dance of the Asian Mul­ti­col­ored Lady Bee­tle and many other or­gan­isms over the course of decades.

I don’t be­lieve Pro­fes­sor Pfeif­fer is cor­rect in his as­sess­ment of this sit­u­a­tion (“Where have all the stink bugs gone?” Nov. 22).

The fact is that the se­verely cold win­ter of 2013-2014 took a huge toll on many kinds of wildlife. Many deer starved that win­ter; birds such as Carolina Wrens and Eastern Blue­birds died from the cold and lack of food; and many, many kinds of in­sects — not only stink bugs and lady bee­tles — died as well, prob­a­bly from de­hy­dra­tion (an in­sect’s big­gest “fear”).

The in­sect species af­fected that year have not re­cov­ered, but rather have con­tin­ued to de­cline, un­doubt­edly due to drought-plagued win­ters. In fact, in­sect pop­u­la­tions of many species were so low this past sum­mer that many birds did not nest suc­cess­fully or nest as many times as they usu­ally do.

I might also point out that the high­est abun­dance of Brown Mar­morated Stink Bugs was in 2013. In Shenan­doah Na­tional Park, where I was giv­ing talks, so many were fly­ing that you couldn’t even exit your ve­hi­cle! And at hawk watches around the state, folks com­plained about the abun­dance of these in­sects in their re­ports. MAR­LENE A. CONDON Crozet Ed­i­tor’s note: The writer is au­thor/ pho­tog­ra­pher of “The Na­ture-friendly Gar­den: Cre­at­ing a Back­yard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and Peo­ple.” In her book, she pro­poses a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent method of gar­den­ing: What if, in­stead of bat­tling the nat­u­ral world, we in­vite it into our yards?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.