Winter Storm Atlas is bad news for some pests
On the other hand, Chirumamilla said because grasshoppers overwinter as eggs deposited in soil and glued together as egg pods, the heavy snow combined with prolonged wet conditions might lead to drowning or exposure of egg pods to diseases.
"All the above factors suggest that we may be seeing lower than usual insect pressure on crops in the coming season. However, beneficial insects like pollinators, predators and parasitoids will also be equally affected by the winter storm and it will be no surprise if we see few of them around as well," she said.
Although Atlas may have affected insects that overwinter locally, the migratory insects that cause seasonal damage will be free of the impact.
"For example, insects like sunflower head moth, and potato leaf hopper (alfalfa) do not have the ability to overwinter in South Dakota and migrate every year from southern states," Chirumamilla said.
She encourages growers to spend time scouting for migrating insects as they are at an advantage because of lack of competition from local insects as well as natural enemies.
"Also, it is important to keep in mind that there is always a certain percentage of insects that survive the odds and contribute to the future buildup of the populations. It might take a couple of years for the pests to bounce back with full force, but it is always wise to keep scouting," she said.
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