Deep Freeze Kills Off Invasive Species

From the New York Times, entomologists think the deep freeze may help kill off invasive species in the northeast.  Here in the southern US, we have invasive species too, such as cotton bollworms and tarnished plant bugs (insects) and kudzu (a plant) that cause damage to crops, forests, and water resources.  Dealing with invasive species is a common topic for environmental and ecological economists.

While some people were cursing a canceled flight or wishing they had donned an extra layer on Tuesday, when temperatures in the region took a deep dive, entomologists, foresters and naturalists were rooting for the mercury to drop even lower. That is because the extreme cold has the potential to beat back some of the invasive insects threatening treasured local tree and plant species.

“You do think, ‘Oh great, maybe some of those nasty insects are going to get zapped today,’ ” said Mark Fisher, director of conservatories and horticultural programs at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “It’s Mother Nature’s way of dealing with this issue.”

The insects, whether introduced pests like the hemlock woolly adelgid or native ones like the southern pine beetle, have weakened forests from Cape May, N.J., to Litchfield County in Connecticut. They are uncannily adept at surviving the winter, but most have a breaking point. And this week, that point was nigh.

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