We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Drought Could Trigger Population Crash For Some Bugs, Boom For Others

Courtesy of Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis

Painted Lady butterfly

Courtesy of Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis

Entomologists say the lack of rain means less foliage in some places and fewer spots for some insects to hatch their offspring.

"There'll probably be a population crash for a lot of different kinds of insects this year," says Steve Heydon with the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis.

He says one of those insects is a vibrant orange and black butterfly with a colorful name: "The Painted Ladies will get up here expecting to find thistle plants to lay eggs on and there just won't be any plants there."

On the other hand, it seems like we're seeing a population boom for other insects.

"Mosquitoes are definitely active now and we are seeing more of them out due to the higher than normal temperatures," says Luz Maria Rodriguez with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Other typically dormant pests that are buzzing around right now include adult house flies and stink bugs.

Rodriguez says, even with a drought, mosquito populations could thrive in some spots. For example, in the puddles of stagnant water in dried up creeks.

Related Stories

  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows / Courtesy

    Long-Term Drought Persists In California

    Thursday, May 05, 2016

    Some minor improvement in California drought conditions last week, but long-term drought remains entrenched as the summer dry season is slightly more than a month away.

  • Capital Public Radio / File

    Expect More 'Spare The Air' Alerts In Sacramento

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    More "Spare The Air" alerts may be issued this year in the Sacramento region because the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the federal ozone health standard.

  • Lisa Herron / U.S. Forest Service

    Prescribed Burns Planned In Lake Tahoe Basin

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Weather permitting, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service may continue prescribed fire operations starting Monday in areas around Lake Tahoe.

 drought

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio