Now that fall has arrived, prepare for the stink bug onslaught

Published: Monday, September 25, 2017 @ 12:58 PM

The Stink Bug Invasion Is On

Fall has officially arrived, although it certainly doesn’t feel like it. But there are a few things you can count on during this season. The cooler weather will come, snow will be in the forecast sooner than we may like and the dreaded brown marmorated stink bugs will soon be making an all-out assault to get into our homes.

»WEATHER: Get the latest Storm Center 7 forecast

The cooler weather and the stink bugs go hand in hand.

Stink bugs took up residence in Ohio over the last 15 years, but really became a nuisance in the last five years. The brown marmorated stink bug was first released into the United States in Allentown, Pa in 1996, according to Penn State University. The bug apparently traveled from northeast Asia in a shipping container that was delivered either to the port of Philadelphia or Elizabeth, N.J. and then trucked to Allentown.

This insect has now spread to 44 states and has very large populations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, and North and South Carolina, according to stopbmsb.org. It has also spread to California and Oregon allegedly via a car driven by a person traveling from Pennsylvania to California in 2005.

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According to researchers at Penn State University, this type stink bug emerges in mid to late spring. As temperatures cool, they begin to swarm near windows, doors and other cracks of buildings seeking refuge from the coming winter. Once inside, the stink bugs enter a physiologically inactive, diapause state or state of suspended development. They emerge from this hibernation over a broad range of time which explains why we see active adult stink bugs throughout the winter and early spring. A mass emergence from diapause occurs as daily temperatures and length of daylight increase especially in mid to late May.

The ability of these stink bugs to survive is quite remarkable. While there is some mortality among the hibernating bugs in the winter, a significant percentage of them make it through to spring and then mate. Colder temperatures in northern states typically reduce the bugs survival rate, but that appears to be changing.

Increasing temperatures linked to climate change are likely a cause for such an increase in stink bug populations, especially in middle and northern latitudes. While excessive heat may drive stink bugs out of hotter, southern states, the warm but moderate temperatures at higher latitudinal locations have increased the survival of stink bugs with significantly larger spring and summer populations. With less severe winters and moderate, warm summers, these annoying bugs appear to have found a perfect “retirement” location here in the Ohio Valley.

The good news is, other than being incredibly annoying and having a pungent smell, stink bugs are pretty harmless to humans and animals. They cannot bite or sting nor seem to carry any known diseases. To get rid of them, it is recommended to flush them or vacuum them, then throw out the vacuum bag to avoid the bugs odor.

Using vacuum bags and water to get rid of these bugs could become costly. So, it is best to prevent invasions by making sure you seal up your home now. Replace old screens and make sure doors and windows close tightly. Also caulk any gaps, cracks or holes in your homes exterior, especially on the south and west sides. These bugs can squeeze themselves quite a bit, so they can fit through even small cracks.

Unfortunately, these insects are quite destructive to agriculture. This species feeds on over one hundred different types of plants including several of great economic importance to humans. Fruit trees (especially apple and pear), soybeans, and peanuts are significantly damaged by these insects. The bugs have also been found feeding on blackberry, sweet and field corn and have been known to cause damage to tomatoes, lima beans and green peppers.

There is no way to kill them by spraying, at least not once they are on the plant, because they must be hit directly. The bugs can fly off the leaves and they aren’t harmed by eating the chemicals on the leaves or on the fruit. However, researches at Penn State did find that while there are very few controlling natural predators, it appears other local predators such as spiders and some birds may be becoming more immune against the bug’s protective secretions and increasingly aware of the growing stink bug feast around them.

Eric Elwell is WHIO StormCenter 7 Chief Meteorologist. Contact him at eric.elwell@coxinc.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Warming trend, dry weather through the week

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 12:02 AM

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Another cool start to the day is expected with lots of sunshine, according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell.

RELATED: Dayton Interactive Radar - WHIO Doppler 7 

Temperatures will rebound back above normal with highs reaching up to near 70 degrees by late afternoon. Quiet and dry weather will stick around the rest of the week as a slow warming trend continues.

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast

Highs will reach into the middle 70s by Saturday. Clouds will increase late Sunday ahead of the next cold front. The next chance for rain is expected late Sunday evening into Monday followed by a drop in temperatures.

Warming trend continues; lower temps arrive next week

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 7:32 PM

A slow warm-up is getting underway across the Miami Valley which will bring temperatures back up nearly 10 degrees above normal by this weekend. But a surge of very chilly air is brewing up in Canada, and may be getting set to head south. Chief meteorologist Eric Elwell explains when this big change will likely occur.

A slow warming trend is underway with above-average temperatures expected Wednesday.

Temperatures of 70 degrees will return through the weekend as a massive area of high pressure slowly pushes across the eastern half off the country, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

However, a major pattern shift is underway in northwestern Canada, where colder air is building. 

This colder air is forecast by most of the long-range models to begin heading southward into the northern U.S. later this weekend.

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The chilliest air of the season could cross the Miami Valley by the middle of next week with current models predicting our first frost by late next week.

Temperatures may not climb out of the lower 50s next week, with some models suggesting snow near the Great Lakes by Wednesday night.

Although it’s too early to know whether the precipitation will materialize, Elwell said to enjoy the upcoming weekend warmth while it lasts Because big changes could come next week.

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Why is the sun red, the sky yellow in London? 

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 5:44 PM

The Reason For The Red Sun And Yellow Skies In London

An eerie weather phenomenon across parts of the United Kingdom is turning the skies an anemic yellow color and making the sun appear blood red.

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The anomaly is not the beginning of the end of days or a sign of the apocalypse, scientists said. Instead, it’s directly related to Hurricane Ophelia, which is whipping through the region.

The storm’s tropical air dragged in dust from the Sahara Desert and air pollution from wildfires in Spain and Portugal as it moved north through the Atlantic, creating the strange spectacle, the BBC reported.

The sky in France's Brittany region also turned yellow on Monday, Oct. 16,2017 as nearby Hurricane Ophelia brought a mix of sand from the Sahara and particles from Spain and Portugal's forest fires over the region. (David Vincent/AP)

“The dust gets picked up into the air and goes high up into the atmosphere, and that dust has been dragged high up in the atmosphere above the UK,” BBC weatherman Simon King said, according to the Express.

The blood-red sun Monday morning across the region is a result of the same weather phenomenon creating the yellow skies, according to the U.K.’s  Meteorological Office or Met Office.

“The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset,” Met officials said on the agency’s website.

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Social media users in London chronicled the spectacle on Twitter.

WPAFB Tuesday Weather: Patchy frost, chilly temps to start the day 

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 12:03 AM

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—After starting the day with some patchy frost and chilly temperatures, seasonably mild weather is expected this afternoon with plenty of sunshine, said Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell. 

RELATED: Dayton Interactive Radar - WHIO Doppler 7 

Highs will reach into the middle 60s. Skies will remain clear tonight as temperatures fall back into the 40s but stay slightly warmer than last night. 

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast

The slow warming trend will continue through the week and into the upcoming weekend, with highs reaching back into the lower 70s by Thursday. The weather will remain dry through at least Saturday and likely through the entire weekend before a storm system arrives early next week.