The Effect of a Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex photo

Polar Vortex

Has Mother Nature provided us with a natural pest control this year? February 2014, has been a record breaking month when it comes to temperatures all over the country. In a world that seems to be warming, this years chilling climate has shown interesting effects.

Studies have shown that insects have been thriving in a world that’s becoming warmer. For example. the black vine weevil has been seen making its appearance two weeks earlier than they were a few decades ago. Also, insects such as aphids, spider mites, and lace bugs have demonstrated the ability to create more offspring because of the change in their cycle of life.

So, why the sudden temperature drop? Researchers have found that several polar vortices have traveled from Canada and placed themselves over the United States. A polar vortex is a semi-permanent weather systems over the Earth. It’s an area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere that typically are positioned near Canada’s Baffin Island and northeast Siberia.

Now that we have the polar vortices how will this years insects react? What seems to be the obvious answer is that we would see less this season. Research has supported this idea. However EAB expert Deb McCullough of Michigan University has communicated that insects also have to ability to adapt. Some have even shown the ability to create a chemical that acts like antifreeze in our cars. This insect “antifreeze” provides them with the necessary tools to survive. The timing of the arrival of the polar vortex also has an effect on if the insects had time to acclimate or not.

In close, we know that weather is a big factor to the cycle of life. We also know that this dramatic fluctuation will have some sort of effect. Now, we will watch as the seasons change to see if the insects have acclimated or suffered from these polar vortices.