Insect Populations Increasing Amid Hot, Dry Conditions

Jim Rogers Georgia, Pests, Research

By Clint Thompson
insect pressure in Georgia
Image credit: S.K. Braman, University of Georgia/Shows squash bug.

Hot temperatures and little rainfall could be a recipe for increased insect pressure in Georgia. Stormy Sparks, University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension vegetable entomologist, discusses what vegetable growers should be scouting for as the calendar turns to May.

“Squash bugs are picking up, because they’re coming out of overwintering. We’re seeing squash bugs and squash bug eggs,” Sparks said. “Next week we’ll start seeing immatures. But along with that there’s some spider mites. Spider mites really like hot and dry weather. That’s a potential. We have very low populations right now. But when you get hot and dry, spider mites are one of those things you keep an eye on.”

insect pressure in Georgia
Stormy Sparks

According to last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor, Georgia’s dry conditions are being observed in the southeastern part of the state. Most of the area is either abnormally dry or moderately dry. Temperatures were in the mid-80s this week in Tifton, Georgia, and are forecasted to reach the low-90s next week, according to

It provides ideal conditions for insect pressure in Georgia to increase.

“It’s that time of the year when thrips tend to build up as well. They tend to be a late spring or early summer type of pest as well. With these warmer (temperatures), all of those life cycles speed up so they can build up more rapidly,” Sparks said.