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As springtime progresses, several things start to loom on the horizon. Plants and trees begin to show life, pollen counts ramp up, temperatures warm, and bugs begin to pop out from their winter slumber. While each year is different in terms of when these things begin to occur, sometime in April is a pretty good average. But what about this year? Well, there is no hiding the fact that it has been a colder-than-normal year thus far. It has also been a year of extremes in the precipitation department. We went from heavy snow in early February to historic flooding during the middle of the month. Then, March was abnormally dry with less than two inches of total liquid measured in South Bend. Now, we are off to one of the coldest Aprils ever. The big question, though, is: What does this mean for pollen and bugs?
Put simply, it is difficult to tell. However, the colder temperatures in March and thus far in April have largely kept the bugs at bay. There haven't been any stretches of warm enough temperatures to allow for bugs to come out for the season. Pollen has been present at times thanks to the dry weather in March, but extreme pollen counts have yet to really grasp Michiana. The colder pattern is likely to continue through April 11th with highs in the 30s and 40s. Beyond that, there is a strong signal for at least some days with warmer temperatures across the eastern half of the United States.
Probability of above or below normal temperatures April 12-18NOAA Climate Prediction Center
The pattern will switch and looks to favor high temperatures in the 50s and perhaps 60s for several days beyond April 11th. However, it is very difficult to say whether or not the warmer temperatures will sustain themselves, or if there will be a few warm days followed by a few cool days and then more warm days. As it looks now, it appears as though there will be a few warmer-than-average days in the 60s followed by brief cool-downs in the upper 40s and 50s. What we will most likely avoid for the remainder of April and beginning of May are extreme cold shots. Extended periods of highs in the 30s and lower 40s are highly unlikely. Overnight lows in the 20s are looking increasingly unlikely as well. Could there be a few cold days mixed in? Sure.
Average start for mosquito seasonMosquito Magnet
This culminates in one thing: the likelihood of insect and mosquito season starting is quite high by the latter half of April. And, according to Mosquito Magnet, that is pretty normal for Michiana. Usually we see large batches of mosquito eggs hatch by late April and early May, leading to a significant uptick in mosquito activity. This year looks no different. Despite the unusually cold start to 2018, mosquitoes and most other insects should have sufficient warmth by the end of April to be "satisfied" enough to hatch and awaken from their winter sleep. To add more support to this, the outlook for the second half of April looks wetter-than-average. That is something else mosquitoes and some other insects like. If there is more rain, plants and trees become more lively, increasing the available food and water content for many insects. And, of course, is there is rain and subsequently areas of standing water, mosquito activity will increase.
Putting it all together, the outlook for the second half of April favors a noticeable uptick in mosquito and other insect activity. Pollen counts -- depending on how many dry days are strung together -- will also rise overall late this month into May. For more information on how to stay defensive against mosquitoes, visit this website!