February freeze may delay spring insect arrival

February Freeze And Insect Expectations

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The February freeze may still be felt in areas of the East Texas eco-system, particularly insects.

The old saying is a hard freeze, kills the bad insects. However, that isn’t necessarily true across the board.

Aside from breaking water-pipes and knocking out power, the week-long freeze of February will also have an effect on insect life in the spring and summer.

“No matter what the weather does, or doesn’t do, it favors some sort of insect. A hot dry summer you’ll have more grasshoppers. And if you have a really cold winter, some organisms thrive more than others,” said Longview Arboretum director Steven Chamblee.

Conventional wisdom is that a hard freeze kills off insects like mosquitoes and ticks. But not really.

“Alaska freezes a lot, and they have a lot of mosquitoes. Not much truth in that,” Chamblee said.

But it’s not just the pests that were effected by the freeze.

“We had a honeybee box, and it had issues and we lost our colony in there,” Steven says.

The bees simply froze inside the hive.

But the hard freeze doesn’t mean all insect life was killed off.

While the hard freeze may not kill all of the bad insects, it may delay them from getting here for a while.

“It forces a lot of insects into hibernation. Some just lay dormant as eggs until spring,” says Chamblee.

Gardeners like Tom Babin, who is also the president of the Longview Master Gardeners Club, caution that good insects are critical.

“We definitely have to protect our pollinators. The pollinators are what make this place beautiful. Without the pollinators, we don’t have any flowers, we don’t have any vegetables,” he says.

The Longview Arboretum is working with local beekeepers to get another hive.

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