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Earth Science

VA Tech Experiment: Polar Vortex May Decimate D.C. Stinkbugs In 2014 112

barlevg writes "Each fall, a team led by Virginia Tech Professor of Entomology Thomas Kuhar gathers brown marmorated stink bugs from around campus and plops them into ventilated and insulated five-gallon buckets designed to simulate the habitats in which the bugs naturally wait out the winter. While previous lab tests have shown the insects capable of surviving chills of -20 C, last month's polar vortex proved too much for the little guys, with only 5% surviving the sustained cold conditions. This suggests that the DC area's population of stink bugs and other overwintering insects should be much lower come spring than in previous years."
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VA Tech Experiment: Polar Vortex May Decimate D.C. Stinkbugs In 2014

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  • Re:Hurray? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @12:59AM (#46309227)
    It Houston, we love the years when we have at least two hard freezes separated by at least a week. It drastically cuts down on the mosquitoes the next summer. This year we had three good ones so summer should be much more pleasant at night.
  • by Retron ( 577778 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @01:29AM (#46309299)

    And on the other side of the Atlantic, the strong jetstream (caused by the abnormal cold in the eastern States) has led to one of the mildest and wettest winters on record in England. I was surprised when last weekend I saw swarms of newly-hatched flies buzzing around the fields of Berkshire; you don't normally see those until late March or early April. To see them in mid-February is quite remarkable. We'll be in a for a miserable spring and summer over here as there will be far more insects buzzing around than normal due to the almost complete lack of frost this "winter" (and I use the term loosely, as for millions of us in the south of the UK it's just been an extended autumn this year!)

  • Re:Hurray? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @01:44AM (#46309345)

    They destroy fruit crops and try to survive through the winter by invading houses. I think I've found one flying around my house just about every week this winter. I read about a house around here that they estimated had 25, 000 of them in it.

    They have no natural predators in the US. The only thing I've seen eat them is my dog. Which would be funny, except he's a 95 pound Doberman and scratches the hell out of my hardwood floors jumping and chasing after them.

  • I'm callin' BS... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by voodoo cheesecake ( 1071228 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @02:36AM (#46309497)

    They won't be decimated, they survive here in Alaska. Not sure if it's an adaptation but they make it through 8 months of snow and ice just fine.

  • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @02:44AM (#46309507)

    Nope. One in ten in the Roman army were killed. That's decimation. People misuse it all the time.

    No. It is you who are clinging to a deprecated definition. Language evolves over time, and the etymology of a word may be such that the definition of a word is based on a historical definition but no longer means the exact same thing.

    In the Oxford English dictionary, the 1st definition is "1. kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of," while the 2nd definition notes that it is historical, "2. historical kill one in every ten of (a group of people, originally a mutinous Roman legion) as a punishment for the whole group."

    In Roman times, "addicts" were broke people given as slaved to the people they owed money too. "Nervous" meant a person who was sinewy and vigorous. "Nice" meant ignorant. So you see, just because a word is based on a word that meant something thousands of years ago it doesn't mean it means the same thing today.

    Also, when a word has multiple definitions, we have this thing most of us learned about in elementary school called "context." When you read the headline, did you understand which definition it meant? If for some reason you honestly thought it meant 1 out of 10 stinkbugs died, did you understand it after reading the article? Are you being obstinate or nice?

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Saturday February 22, 2014 @04:44AM (#46309827) Journal
    Last week in Melbourne we had out of control bushfires and heatwaves, last night I put the heater on for a couple of hours to ward off a blast of cold Antarctic air. The west of the continent also received one of it's rare desert downpours last week, about 2-4 weeks from now there will be an opportunity to see the west in full bloom, the eggs of fish, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans that have lay dormant in the parched earth for years will explode into life and everything will be carpeted with wildflowers. Migratory birds have already abandoned the coastal wetlands around Perth and are swarming to the temporary inland lakes in their millions. How the birds know this natural feast is about to occur is still a mystery. It's an irregular natural spectacle, and in a couple of months it will all be gone.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes