Freeze makes crops more hardy, cuts down on insects

OKLAHOMA CITY - Recent cold temperatures could reduce the effects of crop-eating insects, but don't expect mosquito populations to be any less severe later this year.

The snow, freezing drizzle and cold temperatures have helped many plants, including budding crops, said Phil Mulder, an entomologist with Oklahoma State University's extension office.

Cool, wet conditions nurture the plants, making them more resistant to insects that could cause them harm.

Some of the deep freezes seen in northern Oklahoma - where some low temperatures have sunk to single digits or even below zero - could affect some insects. "Insects have their own built-in antifreeze, but it only goes so far," Mulder said.

Stronger crops and fewer pests could help farmers, but people shouldn't count on last week's cold to cut mosquito populations.

Even if the freeze wipes out much of the mosquito population now, it could rebound quickly in the spring.

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