Written by Doug Schneider
Green Bay Press-Gazette
August 9th, 2012
While people have struggled with the weather that parched Northeastern Wisconsin earlier this year and then soaked it recently, some insects have been feasting.
And experts say some bugs may continue to cause problems into the fall.
This year’s weather conditions have been responsible for larger than normal numbers of bite victims showing up at urgent-care clinics in the Green Bay area, at least one health care provider said. They also have contributed to increased damage to certain types of plants.
But more insects mean additional call volume for an area pest-control business and its 30 technicians.
“This has been a bumper year for a lot of insects,” said Vijai Pandian, horticultural agent and educator for the Brown County University of Wisconsin-Extension. “It all relates to weather issues, and we don’t have control of that.”
Changes in insect populations can affect people in a number of ways. Stings and bites can send victims to emergency rooms for treatment, particularly if they have certain allergies. Crops, garden plants and certain trees can become meals for hungry critters. Swarms of bugs may descend on places where they detect sources of foods, from picnic baskets to trash cans.
An early spring launched an aphids attack on the leaves of certain fruit trees, Pandian said. An extra-heavy spider mite population cut loose on tomatoes and sap-producing plants. Japanese beetle attacks on trees, typically limited in this region to the west side of Green Bay, have been spreading to the city’s east side, Suamico and Oneida. That’s because heavy rains in mid- to late-July created ideal breeding conditions, Pandian said.
Then there are the stinging insects.
“The wasps and hornets showed up early this year because they like it hot,” said Chris Tittle, regional manager for Wil-Kil Pest Control, which provides residential and commercial pest control from the Fox Valley to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “During the 90-degree weather, demand for our services definitely was up.”
Green Bay temperatures reached or exceeded 90 degrees 23 times this year through July 31, including a record 14 times in July.
While the dryness helped reduce the number of mosquitoes in some areas, it seems to have had the opposite effect on insects with stingers. Dr. Bobby Yun, medical director for six area Prevea Urgent Care Health Centers, said that has driven a stream of patients to the clinics.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve been seeing one or two (sting victims) every day,” said Yun, who said two of his own children have been stung this summer. “I’ve been practicing in the Green Bay area for about nine years, and this is at least double what we’d see in any other summer.”
While stings are painful annoyances for most people, Yun said they can be harmful or potentially fatal to a person who is allergic to venom, or who is stung multiple times.
Stings also can lead to infections such as cellulitis, which can cause pain, fever, chills and sweating. While sufferers can typically overcome cellulitis with a seven to 10-day course of antibiotics, it can — in some cases — lead to blood or bone infections, meningitis or heart inflammation, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For your pest control needs, contact Wil-Kil.