Southern California environment news and trends

US heat wave could lead to pest population explosion

Mercer 17088

Trebol-a/Flickr

The heat wave currently gripping the globe is resulting in a myriad of less than welcome side effects, including withering corn crops in Europe, glacial flooding in Greenland to even death in the Midwest. There's more: According to the National Pest Management Association, the soaring, dry temperatures are ideal for America to see a boom in pest populations. 

“Insects are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperatures are regulated by the temperature of their environment,” said Missy Henriksen, the vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “In cold weather, insects’ internal temperatures drop, causing them to slow down. But in warm weather, they become more active. Larvae grow at a faster rate, reproduction cycles speed up and they move faster.“

Which means perfect conditions for a host of pests including fleas, ticks, termites, mosquitoes, brown recluse and black widow spiders and scorpions to flourish in the coming weeks. What’s worse, the hot, dry temperatures will eventually drive those pests to seek out moisture and cool places to dwell — like homes.

Read More...

Warm milk: Climate change is hard on cows

Kathleen Masterson

A dairy cow peeks out of its stall at Case van Steyn's dairy in Galt, Calif.

With America in the grips of a sweltering heat wave that’s vying to make this season the hottest summer on record, a new study by scientists at the University of Washington reveals that soaring temperatures are just as hard on our bovine friends as humans.

According to the University press release, increasing climate change and higher temperatures has the potential of reducing milk production across America, particularly in Southeastern states like Florida.

Lead researcher Yoram Bauman and his team analyzed climate data in comparison to dairy industry data down to the county level. They mapped out the results through the year 2080 to get their findings.

"Using U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, if you look at milk production in the Southeast versus the Northwest, it's very different," said researcher Guillaume Mauger in a statement. "It's reasonable to assume that some of that is due to the inhospitable environment for cows in the Southeast."

Read More...