Warming climate opens door to new forest pests

Capital News Service
LANSING – The mimosa webworm was nowhere to be found on honeylocusts at Michigan State University 20 years ago. But within the past decade, warming temperatures made the campus an appealing home for this destructive bug. “It was the canary in the coal mine,” said Deborah McCullough, an MSU entomologist who witnessed the honeylocusts disappear from campus as temperatures warmed and the mimosa webworm moved north into Michigan. It’s a phenomenon not confined to webworms and honeylocusts as the Earth’s temperature rises and the variability of climate increases, experts say. Climate change will increase the frequency of droughts, increase the severity of snowstorms and rain storms and make frosts occur later, said Sophan Chhin, an assistant professor of forestry at MSU.