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How does wind effect pest control?

A common thing that most people don’t really think about is how wind can effect pests and pest control.

Slower wind speeds could increase the need for pest control depending on the time of year

There are both pros and cons for pests when it comes to wind speeds. When wind speeds are slowed down, some pests gain advantages. This could increase the need for pest control during winter months.

Feeding on crops is one common food source for pests. When a food source is constantly on the move, it makes it harder to catch a meal. Look at most carnivores for example. The fastest animals are usually at the top of the food chain as they can escape other threats, and catch their prey. Asian Lady Beetles feed on aphids on crops. When wind speeds are very high, it’s more difficult for them to latch on to the crops.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison did a study where they controlled the wind speeds by building barriers..

They found that these beetles can eat almost double the amount of aphids when wind is slowed down. As humans build up more and more buildings, homes, and plant trees near crops, the wind has more potential to slow down.

This decrease in wind speed could potentially reduce aphid populations, but also greatly increase Asian lady beetle populations. Asian lady bugs can be an effective form of natural pest control for crops in the spring and summer. Come winter, they will be looking for a home.

This could potentially lead to more pest issues in your home. Especially when other pests will benefit from lower wind speeds as well.

Higher wind speeds can increase travel of pests but hinder others

Higher wind speeds can deter some pests like bees and wasps from expanding and creating new nests and hives, which could reduce numbers of pests issues from them.  However, lower wind speeds that are typically occurring in more developed areas tend to make it easier for wasps to move about the neighborhood with relative ease.

These diminished wind speeds make it easier for wasps to gather supplies to build their nests as well as build more nests in shorter time frames.

Some pests do benefit from higher wind speeds in the form of easier travel. Not really a pest per-say, but butterflies have been clocked up to nearly 60 miles an hour with the assistance of extreme winds.

This means wind aided insects can migrate and travel to new places and increase their habitat with the aid of wind. Other pests that use high wind speed to their advantage are spiders.

Spiders and box elder bugs

Some spiders use a technique called ballooning where they will climb as high as they can on various plants or structures and shoot out a line of their silk web into the sky. As wind speeds are high enough the silk strands will be picked up in the air currents and spiders can take flight, in some cases for many miles.

In a few cases it has actually happened to hundreds of spiders at once and they have been caught up into the upper atmosphere and then all came down together several miles away in a sort of “spider rain storm,” terrifying to say the least.

Other pests like box elder bugs typically live in trees like box elder, maple, and ash trees during warmer months. If these tree based populations are too far away to reach your homes, you don’t have much to fear. However, with increased or significant wind speeds, their flight can be boosted by the wind making it possible for these once tree dwelling pests, to become a nuisance in your home as well.

Overall, whether wind speeds are going up or down, there are advantages that various pests can use either way, so be on a look out for increased pest activity when the wind make drastic shifts either way.

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