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.

»MORE: Record-breaking storms strike over two-week period

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.

Slick conditions lead to crashes across Miami Valley

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 2:01 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 6:20 PM

FROM SCENE: Slick conditions cause crash on U.S. 35 East in Dayton

UPDATE @ 6:20 p.m.

Medics and law enforcement officers are busy keeping up with all the crashes in the region.

Temperatures are dropping and the snow is still falling.

The majority of accidents are minor, but there are reports of slick spots, particularly on hills, that are impassable.

>> Fatal crash with multiple other injuries reported in Greene County

Road crews also are busy treating roads throughout the area. 

UPDATE @ 4:05 p.m.

Road crews are putting salt down across the Miami Valley as temperatures drop amid snowy conditions.

Just outside Dayton, a vehicle slammed into a guardrail on U.S. 35 East. No other cars were involved in the crash, and there were not believed to be any injuries.

In Piqua, a two-vehicle crash along County Road 25A reportedly involved a medic unit responding to a call.

In Butler County, there were some crashes, including one on the High-Main Bridge in Hamilton, when one car swerved into another. Other crashes were fender-benders.

Lebanon dispatchers reported some vehicles unable to drive up a hilly road.

FIRST REPORT

Two vehicles rolled over in a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 in Clark County.

According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, there are slick conditions leading to the crashes in the east end of the county. At least one person was taken to a local hospital.

>> Clipper arrives, snow falling across region

The Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol also reported they were responding to multiple crashes.

In Champaign County, wires are pulled down on North County Line Road and state Route 4 after a semi crashed into a pole. Another accident involved two cars in the same area, with the cars ending up in a ditch, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office reported there were a couple minor crashes.

Several slide-offs but nothing serious was reported in Mercer County.

In Greene County, the OSP’s Xenia Post said dispatchers handled a couple crashes, including one on state Route 44 (Springfield Street).

The Dayton Post of the OSP reported one crash in Preble County and another outside Englewood in Montgomery County.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Worst global warming predictions likely the most accurate, study finds

Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

What you know about climate change is correct — for the most part.

The worst-case predictions regarding the effects of global warming are the most likely to be true, a new study published this week has warned.

"Our study indicates that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4°C by the end of this century," Dr. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, who co-authored the study told The Independent.

RELATED: What’s in the federal climate report? 7 key takeaways

This research shows a dramatic increase over previous estimates, which placed the likelihood of such a drastic increase at just 62 percent.

Since the Earth's climate system is incredibly complex, different scientists have put forward different models to determine how fast the planet is warming. This has resulted in a range of predictions, some more dire than others.

The new study, published in the academic journal "Nature", aimed to determine whether the upper or lower-end estimates are more reliable.

Caldeira and co-author Dr. Patrick Brown looked at models that proved to be the best at simulating climate patterns in the recent past. They reasoned that these models would present the most accurate estimates.

"It makes sense that the models that do the best job at simulating today's observations might be the models with the most reliable predictions," Caldeira explained.

According to the researchers' conclusions, models with higher estimates are more likely to be accurate, meaning the degree of warming is likely 0.5°C higher than previously accepted.

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File/for the AJC)

Scientist that weren't involved with the research have come out in support of the findings as well.

"There have been many previous studies trying to compare climate models with measurements of past surface-temperature, but these have not proved very conclusive in reducing the uncertainty in the range of future temperature projections," Professor William Collins, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said.

Professor Collins explained that the new study "breaks the issue down into the fundamental building blocks of climate change."

While the overwhelming majority of climatologists and environmental scientists agree that climate change is a problem accelerated by human activity, representatives from the fossil fuel industry and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have dismissed such claims.

However, with more and more research backing worst-case predictions, complete dismissal of such findings becomes increasingly difficult. This study in particular addresses one key point climate change deniers often seize upon: the uncertainty that comes with so many different climate models.

RELATED: Climate disaster map shows Georgia as second most apocalyptic state

"This study undermines that logic," Dr. Brown told MIT Technology Review. "There are problems with climate models, but the ones that are most accurate are the ones that produce the most warming in the future."

Dr. Brown and Dr. Cadeira's study also comes on the heels of a dire warning issued by more than 15,000 scientists from around the world last month. The scientists warned that quick and drastic actions should be undertaken by society to address the threat to Earth.

"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out," scientists wrote in the letter. "We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home."

But despite scientists around the world, including the leading minds in climate and environmental research, raising their voices in concern, President Donald Trump's administration has expressed its disinterest and disbelief.

President Donald Trump said in June that he would pull the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, joining only two other nations – Syria and Nicaragua – which had not signed the international accord.

Since then, Nicaragua agreed to sign the agreement in October, and Syria followed in November.

Instead of addressing greenhouse gas emissions as the Paris accord requires, the White House said it "will promote coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change," a decision scientists around the globe have warned against.

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Clipper system to arrive in region by weekend

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 8:05 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 09, 2017 @ 12:00 AM

The weather pattern that has enveloped the Miami Valley can be very conducive to "clipper systems". These storm systems originate from Canada and move rapidly across the Great Lakes. They usually bring quick bursts of light to moderate snow along with gusty winds. They also typically bring a rapid drop in temperatures after they move by.

The weather pattern that has enveloped the region can be very conducive to "clipper systems."

RELATED: How is wind chill calculated?

These storm systems originate from Canada and move rapidly across the Great Lakes. They usually bring quick bursts of light to moderate snow along with gusty winds. They also typically bring a rapid drop in temperatures after they move by.

RELATED: Get the latest forecast

But there are several different names given to these clipper systems depending on where they originate. 

The most common Canadian storm system is called the "Alberta Clipper."

SEE: WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

But there also are two more names if the systems develop in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell explains the differences between an "Alberta Clipper," a "Saskatchewan Screamer," and a "Manitoba Mauler" in this video.

Snowfall to start weekend, thanks to Canadian clipper

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 4:32 AM
Updated: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 11:40 PM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks at the timing and impacts of our next system this weekend.

Clouds will increase late. Temperatures overnight will drop into the upper teens, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

>> Clipper system to arrive in region for weekend

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Cold, increasing clouds overnight
  • Snow showers to start weekend
  • More clippers to affect region next week

DETAILED FORECAST

Saturday:  On and off snow showers expected, more numerous late in the day and early evening. It will be blustery and cold with highs in the lower 30s. Snowfall accumulation generally will be less than 1 inch. A few areas west/north of Dayton may receive a bit more.

>> Live WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

BREAKING IT DOWN, WHEN YOU’LL SEE SNOW THIS WEEKEND:

Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs shares what you can expect on Saturday:

Noon to 5 p.m.: 

  • First snowflakes start to fall in the area 
  • Sporadic snow as clippers have little moisture

5 to 8 p.m.:

  • Lake effect snow system moves in, bringing more moisture, more snow, possible snow bursts
  • Less than 1 inch in Miami, Montgomery county areas
  • 1 to 2 inches north and west of Dayton
Saturday Snow Chances(Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell)

Sunday:  Expect a mix of clouds and sunshine and low temperatures. Highs will be in the lower 30s. 

>> What are the chances for a White Christmas?

5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

RELATED: How is wind chill calculated? 

Frost on grass fairgrounds

Monday: Clouds will increase. Some scattered snow showers will be possible late in the day. Some rain may mix in early. Highs will be near 40 degrees.

>> PHOTOS: Wind whips California wildfires as thousands evacuate

Tuesday: Scattered snow showers and flurries are expected under mostly cloudy skies. It will be blustery and colder with highs near 30 degrees.

Wednesday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds with highs only in the middle 20s.