Polar Vortex Must Have Only Frozen Us

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener 

Earlier this year as the three month snow cover and polar vortex was releasing its grip on southern Indiana, there was some speculation that the long, intense cold would help diminish the pesky insect population.

Now that the woods-in about two weeks-went from drab bare brown to lush green I have an answer to that insect speculation:

HA!

The tent caterpillar population is abundant in the wild cherry trees and they were also dining on the two apples trees I planted years back near the creek.

I try to pull out the silken tents to keep the trees from becoming entirely defoliated. I tried to feed the fuzzy worms to the bluegill and they inhale the wrigglers but immediately spit them back out. Either they don’t taste good or their hairy covering tickles their mouth. So there are trails of tent caterpillar mass graves throughout the woods.

But there are always some missed and more worms hatching.

And the ticks seem to have survived the winter quite well. I began the topical insect repellant to Charley about a month earlier than usual.

The tadpoles and frogs in the pond should take care of surplus mosquito larvae population. Or at least I hope so.

And those flying gnatty bugs are also abundant. Some just aggravate by buzzing about my head; another variety can land unbeknownst and start biting. I liken them to flying chiggers as their bite leaves an itchy, oozing tiny red welt.

So with the polar vortex apparently having no effect on the pest population, Charley and I look forward to June and the deer fly hatch, July’s horsefly visits, abd the variety of beetles, worms, and grubs that want more than their share of my tiny garden.

Perhaps I need to make quicker progress on the plans to screen in the back porch or make sure the blood bank has an ample supply of my blood type as the biting, sucking insects take me to dinner.