It is now mid March, and temperatures will be in the 60’s for the next week or so. We have had very little snowfall this winter, temperatures were about 5 degrees warmer than average, and the ground never quite froze. Many people that enjoy ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing in Massachusetts were left with few options this winter.

What does this mean for the upcoming spring and summer? Many experts are predicting a heavy insect population this spring. When winter temperatures are normal or below normal, many overwintering insects will freeze and die, which helps to keep their populations in check. It was only about 6 years ago that we had a below normal winter that killed off an estimated 95% of our hemlock woolly adelgid population, and limited wintermoth populations as well. Pests that are at their northern edge of their temperature threshold, such as HWA and wintermoth, are very susceptible to extended freezing temps.

So this year has been well above normal, and we have been seeing crocuses, daffodils and other plants begin pushing through the ground for the past 2 weeks. Spring may come early this year, but never forget the April Fool’s day blizzard of 1997- anything can happen when you live in New England.

I also wanted to mention ticks. Since it has been so warm out, ticks have been very active. It seems that each time I walk through a clients property lately, when I get back into my car I am finding a deer tick walking on my lap or on my neck. Ticks are commonly found in wooded and brushy habitats, so if you are walking through any woody or grassy material that can brush up against your clothes, you may want to take precautions- wear a repellant with DEET, tuck your pants into your socks (no matter how bad it may look) and always tick check after. It takes 48 hours for a female tick to infect you with Lyme disease once bitten, so early detection is key.

If you are concerned with ticks at your property, consult your arborist at Mayer Tree Service. We can help by treating your property for seasonal control, or if you are planning an outdoor event we can treat the day before to keep your guests safe and comfortable. Works for mosquitoes too!

As for mosquito populations, that will be determined by our rainfall this spring more than by our winter conditions, so we will keep you posted!

Jeff