Experts: Snow, cold won’t kill bugs

This undated file photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows an adult emerald ash borer. Emerald ash borers are an invasive species in Michigan. (AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, File)

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — While it has been extremely cold throughout West Michigan, it has not been cold enough to kill those pesky bugs like mosquitoes and the Emerald Ash Borer.

“Insects have been around for a couple hundred million years and through evolution they have lots of ways to be able to tolerate the cold. If not, they wouldn’t be here,” said James Dunn, an anamologist in the biology department at Grand Valley State University.

Dunn said that while it has been cold, it hasn’t been cold enough. It would take several days with temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below zero, like they have seen in northern Minnesota, in order to kill off the pests.

Many insects go underground for the winter, which means all this snow is actually helping keep them alive.

“It’s a blanket. You’re lost in the wilderness — the first thing you do is build a snow cave to survive in the winter time,” Dunn said. “They are right under the snow and it’s warm.”

Dunn was able to offer a silver lining when it comes to bugs for the spring and summer:

“The good insects will survive and we do need the good insects to have a well-functioning ecosystems.”

However, the cold and snow should help rise lake levels this spring.

Dr. Alan Steinman of GVSU told 24 Hour News 8 the thick ice on Lake Michigan should help rise water levels when it melts. And the more the lake becomes covered with ice, the more it is protected from evaporation, which will help control levels.

All the snow that has fallen in West Michigan is a mixed bag.

Any lake-effect snow that has fallen, once it melts and goes back into the lakes, is considered a wash since it originated from the lakes in the first place.

Any snow that has come from outside the lake basin would help to increase lake levels when it melts.

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