Drought Conditions In Massachusetts Can Bring More Insects Into Homes

Drought conditions are not associated with thriving insect life. Insect diversity is at its greatest in warm and humid tropical conditions that see frequent bouts of rainfall. Naturally, most insect species require moist environments that never see cold temperatures or snow. Tropical environments also contain an abundance of diverse plant life that provide insects with a food source all year round. To put it simply, a tropical environment is the most nourishing type of environment for most insects. For example, only a very small fraction of the world’s 4,500 cockroach species are able to thrive within temperate regions. The vast majority of roach species dwell within the tropics.

Very few insect species have adapted to thrive within dry conditions, as water and vegetation are hard to come by as food sources within dry regions. During periods of prolonged drought, insect populations generally decrease in number. Despite this, insect infestations in homes are more likely to occur during a drought. During the summer of 1999, a long-lasting drought took hold in Massachusetts. As a result, residents expected to see far fewer insects in both indoor and outdoor environments. However, pest control professionals in the state were somewhat surprised to find that the number of insect infestation cases increased sharply during the drought period.

Although insect populations do decrease in number during a drought, the insects that do survive spend all of their time invading homes in an effort to secure a source of water and a more agreeable climate. It is for this reason, that insect pest infestations increased during the 1999 drought in Massachusetts. According to pest controllers in the state, ant infestations were particularly common during this dry period. In fact, one pest controller in Attleboro witnessed a long line of ants crawling along a telephone wire that led into a home. Drought conditions may kill off a great many insects, but those that survive tend to travel farther than usual from their nests in order to secure an indoor environment. This also means that generally aggressive insects, like yellowjackets, hornets and some bees, may become even more aggressive during a drought, as the insects frantically search for moisture, vegetation and water in a desperate effort to survive.

What time of year do you consider insect pest issues to be most problematic?