Warm Winter May Bring Pest-Filled Spring

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The mild and dry winter has given insects a chance to survive and thrive. That could make spring a tough season for many U.S. farmers.

Cold and snow usually kills off many insects, acting as what one agriculture specialist calls a "reset button" that gives farmer a fresh start.

But with warmer-than-usual temperatures in nearly every state this winter, that hasn't happened.

Kansas beekeeper Tim Tucker says he saw flies in February and bumble bees that usually don't appear until May or June.

While bees are good for pollination, many surviving insects have a destructive bent, such as the bean leaf beetle that targets soybeans and corn flea beetle that damages corn. In Massachusetts, cranberry growers are fighting winter moths that eat buds, ruining a crop for a whole year.

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