Living With Hurricanes

Cockroach

Cockroach Darkens a Doorstep

Hurricane Matthew has caused devastation on Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas and is now on the East Coast of the US. What effect do hurricanes have on insects? Hurricane can cause flooding from storm surge and damage to vegetation with high winds. Most insects are small enough to find suitable harborage during the storms and can adapt to conditions after the storm.  Some insect populations will suffer direct mortality from adverse environmental conditions. However, disturbance by hurricanes is often patchy and insects in stable situations typically find plenty of refuge during and after the storm.

Insects that live in disturbed or temporary habitats may find conditions suitable for population expansion in the wake of a hurricane disturbance. Mosquitoes and other insects that live in temporary ponds created by the heavy rainfall typically increases in numbers. Trees blown down and killed by high winds becomes sites for colonization by detritivores. Hurricanes can partially defoliate trees. Leaf feeding insects such as caterpillars may benefit from a spurt of new growth by the trees. Very seldom do large hurricanes that have great impact on human structures create a similar devastation on insect populations. Many local populations that are reduced by direct mortality are quickly replaced by unaffected nearby refuges.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Hurricanes

  1. Pingback: Living With Hurricanes – Entomo Planet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s