Abandon hope for a bug-free Minnesota summer - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Abandon hope for a bug-free Minnesota summer

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DULUTH, Minn. (AP) -- Abandon any hope one might have about a bug-free summer. Experts say the pests that bite and suck the blood of Minnesotans and devour the leaves on trees in the state's forests are going to survive the extended winter just fine.

Naturalist Larry Weber tells the Duluth News Tribune the late winter and extended snow cover aren't likely to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes, ticks and blackflies -- they'll just show up a bit later. He says they may even thrive better because of the insulation and water the snow is providing.

Forest health specialist Mike Albers says the story is the same for tree pests like army worms, whose numbers are climbing. In 2011 they defoliated about 60,000 acres throughout Minnesota; last year they stripped about 250,000 acres.

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