Insect population feels impact of harsh winter

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – With the return of cold temperatures comes talk of what the spring has in store.
The extreme winter weather we've experienced over the last few months could mean fewer bugs.
House mosquitoes and wolf spiders are two common household insects you could see less of in the coming months, according to UK Entomologist Lee Townsend.
Even so, he also says, those species can be pretty resilient.
"Even if you have two-thirds fewer by mid-summer, their ability to build back up means they could be at nuisance levels again," said Townsend.
A lot of us get creeped out by bugs.
But, Townsend says some of them serve helpful purposes, like the black widow spider, which will eat that pesky house fly that's buzzing around your home.
Some insects do the opposite, like the Emerald Ash Borer, which has destroyed ash trees all over the country.
"They have a lot of ways of surviving the winter," he said.
With Lexington already at a shortage of a sufficient amount of trees, the proliferation of this pest continues to be a threat not just ecologically, but economically, too.
"If they begin to die, our tax money will be needed to cut the trees down. So, it impacts directly and indirectly."
One pest that has been curtailed by the harsh winter is the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid.
Townsend says it's a good thing because the infestation of trees has been slower in southeastern Kentucky.

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