Beware Of Bugs

Area residents looking to get a head start in the enjoyment of outdoor activities this year may want to consider bringing an extra bottle of bug spray along on their excursions.

In the wake of a milder winter than has been seen in recent years, the local insect population is expected to be on the rise early, and possibly exceed those of previous summer seasons.

The past winter was far kinder to Western New York residents in terms of temperature when compared with the polar vortex-laden winters of 2014 and 2015. According to Ruth Lundin, president of the Jamestown Audubon Society, a warmer winter has traditionally led to a larger and earlier increase in the population of insects and other airborne nuisances.

“Since we did not have a bitterly cold winter, we can expect the insects to be out in full force earlier this year,” Lundin said. “People should currently be preparing to go outdoors the way they would typically prepare in June. We want people to go out and enjoy nature, but we also want them to be prepared.”

Lundin said nature-lovers, and other individuals who plan to spend a fair amount of time outdoors, should expect mosquitoes at any time; and should have mosquito repellent at the ready. She also advised that people take temperature into consideration, as insect activity is dependent on how warm or cold the days are, and also spray for ticks if they will be walking through areas in which tall grass is prominently featured.

“Although we don’t have a tick population here at the Audubon, we have already heard of people getting tick bites this year,” she said.

The Jamestown Audubon Society is located at 1600 Riverside Road. For more information, and updates on this year’s insect population and projected forecast, contact the Audubon at 569-2345 or the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services’ public health division at 1-866-604-6789.