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So Will Houston’s Freeze Mean Fewer Bugs This Summer?

We asked an expert whether a long-held belief holds true

If you’re anticipating a summer backyard barbecue where you won’t have to swat mosquitoes, Texas A&M entomologist Dr. Paul Nestor said that’s probably just wishful thinking. He said the freeze really didn’t last long enough to make an impact on the insect population.

“The temperature we feel is usually a wind chill to our skin but the ground itself, it heats up a lot faster than we think,” explained Nestor. “Many of the insects such as fleas and all, they’re not active this time of year anyway and they are overwintering. And yes, if we have a very, very hard freeze where you kill those insects close to the top of the ground, sure. But I think it’s going to be minimal effect.”

Nestor said there’s actually another factor that’s the real predictor of summertime insect activity. That’s the amount of rain we get in the spring.

“We have lots of humidity, we have moisture, we have insects,” added Nestor. “We have the correct conditions for insects to multiply readily.”

Nature also deals another wallop to Houston when the temperatures heat up, and that’s pollen. But Nestor said the freeze probably won’t affect that either. He explained that over the eons, plants have learned to protect themselves and they can easily come back after a spate of cold weather.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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