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Soil and insect populations

15 years ago

Did you ever notice how some areas seem to be more plagued by certain insects than others? I had an experience recently which got me thinking about this. We had a lovely weekend at a cabin up in VT a few weeks ago. It was early summer, there had been plenty of rain, but there were almost NO MOSQUITOES. We sat on the front porch outside until almost 10:00 PM with no mosquito repellent, no swatting, no buzzing, nothing. It was great! The area was remote, with a large field in front and woods in the back, there were plenty of drainage ditches, ponds, lakes, mucky spots etc. for mosquitoes to breed, but there simply weren't many around. It's highly unlikely that anyone sprayed the area, seeing as how it's so remote, and I asked the owner and he said that it's always like that - blessed with very few skeeters.

Then we came home (also somewhat remote, out in the "country" hills of central MA) and got swarmed with mosquitoes as soon as we stepped out of the car. Welcome home.

So what gives?

Then I got thinking about bugs in the garden, and how squash bugs and cucumber beetles have been such a problem here where we currently live. At our last house (about 20 miles away) we hardly ever saw cucumber beetles and never NEVER encountered a squash bug. The houseflies are worse here. The blackflies are MUCH worse here. The japanese beetles are atrocious. On the plus side, we seem to get more good bugs too - dragonflies, butterflies, wasps (good and bad ones), tachinid flies... we just have lots of bugs!

Talking to friends in other towns, the reports vary... some report few bug problems and some experience biblical plagues like we do.

So why is it that some places attract more bugs than others? Keep in mind, all of these towns are in the same general part of the state, have similar population densities, vegetation, elevation, weather, and other environmental conditions. The only thing I can think of that differs from area to area is the soil/geology.

Is anyone aware of any studies on the impact of soil type on insect populations?



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