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Polar vortex may have killed significant levels of invasive species of insects

connectVideoWhat is a polar vortex?

The intense polar vortex that blanketed the Midwest and made his way to the east coast with a deadly subzero wind chill and snow had one advantage: the killing of a number of bad bugs.

The dangerous winter weather caused more than two dozen weather-related deaths in eight countries and hundreds of injuries, including frostbite, broken bones, heart attacks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

But the bitter cold in the Midwest also may have a number of harmful, invasive species, according to the National Pest Management Association.

“Although most of the insects will be equipped to survive in a short period of very cold weather, such as the recent polar vortex, it is likely some will die due to this extreme weather event,” said Dr. Brittany Campbell, an entomologist with the npma, told AccuWeather.

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A Virginia Tech research experiment estimated that the polar vortex may have killed as much as 95 percent of the stink bugs that had not yet found shelter this winter, according to the group.

This year, the polar vortex may have killed as much as 95 percent of the stink bugs that do not find shelter.
(iStock)

Other invasive species in the Northeast, such as the emerald ash borer and southern pine beetle also are not likely to survive the winter cold.

“Also, as an adult, pests, freeze, may already laid eggs that will hatch when the weather gets warmer,” the organization said.

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Some insects are able to withstand temperatures far below zero, with the limit for the many insects that “superfreeze” is usually around negative 30 degrees, according to AccuWeather.

What happens to the birds during the polar vortex?

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That is including cockroaches and bed bug populations in places like New York, which would not be affected by the cold.

“It is difficult to determine the species most affected, seen a lot of insects in the northern regions are equipped to handle freezing temperatures,” Campbell told AccuWeather

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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