Oklahoma's Warm Winter Leads To Explosion In Bug, Insect Populations

Tuesday, May 22nd 2012, 1:18 pm
By: Richard Clark

Oklahoma is being overrun by crawling and flying insects and bugs, thanks to the unusually mild winter.

News On 6 viewers are reporting huge numbers of spiders, ticks, beetles and mosquitoes.  This Spring has also brought a huge number of crane flies.

"We had a huge crop of crane flies this spring – which thankfully are on a severe decline at this time," said entomologist Dr. Richard Grantham, the director of the Plant Disease & Insect Diagnostic Lab at Oklahoma State University.

Crane flies look like overgrown mosquitoes, but they do not bite humans.  

Dr. Grantham said his lab has been very busy this spring.  "The nonexistent winter has been a killer for us so far. The lab has done more business than any other time we can remember!"

While the increased numbers of spiders and insects may be hard on humans, he says it's particularly difficult on plants and trees.  Dr. Grantham is particularly worried about oaks.

"It has been a year for defoliators (leaf eaters, caterpillars, etc.).  Oaks have taken a real beating from the -30F winter before last and heat/drought last summer. Not sure how much more they can take."

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