Martin LaBar via Flickr
The drought in Wisconsin is not only affecting crops and home gardens, but also insect populations. The southern half of the state is seeing fewer mosquitoes than usual. But some bugs are becoming more prevalent. Phil Pellitteri is an entomologist at UW-Madison. He says the boxelder population is likely to explode in the coming months, “I'm expecting it to be one heck of a bad boxelder bug year now," he says. "Because they do really when it’s really dry. Now if all of a sudden its starts raining every other day from now until fall then it probably won't come to pass but all the conditions are kicking up."
Boxelder bugs are generally harmless to plants and humans but can become a nuisance if they enter houses and other buildings in large numbers. Another insect also thrives during hot and dry summers. Pellitteri says he expects to see a lot of yellow jackets this summer, "Historically, the ground nesting yellow jackets that tend to go after our food in the late summer like it hot and dry. And so we have not had a problem with this in the last three or four years but I'm wondering if the conditions are right."
Pellitteri was a guest on WPR’s Larry Meiller Show.