Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Insects and mosquitoes could be fewer this summer

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Mosquitoes are not liked by many humans and not so much by many other animals.

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For some, mosquitoes are one of the most annoying aspects of the hot season. However, be aware that biting insects could be less present this summer.

At least that's the hypothesis put forward by entomologist Robert Loiselle. The small amount of snow that fell in recent months explains the situation since the larvae need water to grow. The low amount of snow, combined with the mild temperatures, also results in some species emerging from the ground earlier.

What happens is that the snowmelt pond will be very small. If there is no snowmelt water, it will not last long, explains the former professor at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC). The eggs are always ready in the soil, waiting for the perfect conditions. But there will be fewer larvae, the water will evaporate quickly and ultimately, there will be fewer adults.

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Robert Loiselle is an entomologist and retired professor from the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi. According to him, biting insects will be less present this summer.

Only significant amounts of rain this spring could encourage the appearance of mosquitoes, but according to Mr. Loiselle, it is unlikely that it will be enough for the insects to be as numerous as usual. The deficit to be made up with the small quantity of water expected for the snowmelt is significant.

For Robert Loiselle, 2024 is a fairly rare case. He remembers a similar year at the end of the 1980s. However, it is not particularly worrying for him.

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There are no species that will disappear, but some could be affected because the soil will be very dry. Those who like humidity, on the other hand, might find summer more difficult, he explains. The whole process will start sooner, but I don't think it will be devastating.

Although this is not what is expected in the coming weeks, the entomologist recalls that if the mercury were to drop below -15°C, this situation would be catastrophic for the species which are beginning to emerge from the ground since x27;they would have no food.

In the long term, climate change will have considerable impacts on insects, according to the entomologist.< /p>

It’s certain that if the climate changes, if it gets warmer… we can already see the consequences of that. Certain species that live further south of the country will move north, as is the case with the blacklegged tick, which carries Lyme disease, which has now been present in Saguenay for around ten years, mentions Robert Loiselle. The presence of new species of insects can have consequences on certain crops.

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The blacklegged tick is the species that transmits Lyme disease.

Forest fires, which were of unprecedented scale in Canada and Quebec in 2023, can also encourage the appearance of insects, such as longhorned beetles, which take advantage of dead trees to feed. Conversely, local insect colonies where fires take place can be greatly damaged.

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Longhorn beetles have a jaw that allows them to dig through wood.

Even if the reduced presence of mosquitoes represents good news for our outdoor outings this summer, Robert Loiselle reminds us that insects are essential to the proper functioning of our ecosystem and the maintenance of biodiversity.

If we didn't have them, we would really be in trouble. Each insect has its role to play in the economy of nature.

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