In May, climatologists warned Chicago officials that before the end of the century global warming is on track to turn Windy City summers into the sweltering sauna typical of August in the Deep South. Presenting the results of a long-term climate model commissioned by the city in 2006, scientists warned that before the end of the century Chicago’s weather will be similar to that of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
By 2070, Chicago temperatures are expected to soar above 90 degrees 1 day out of every 4. Spring and fall precipitation will increase by 35%. Pines, maples and white oaks will be replaced with the swamp oaks, sweet gums and bald cypress that now grow in Birmingham, Alabama. Chicago gardens will bloom not with daisies and roses but with azaleas and tropical passion flowers. And with tropical trees and plants will come the insects that pollinate and feed on them
Climate change is already impacting insect populations. NJ pest control experts warn that warmer temperatures and heavier rainfalls are increasing the range of ticks, mosquitoes, ants, termites, cockroaches, bees and other insect pests that pose a risk to the health and homes of New Jersey residents. Located 100 miles farther south than Chicago, New Jersey is predicted to suffer even more dramatic climate change and more intensive insect invasion than its northern neighbor.
Entomologists at the University of California are studying insects’ genetic diversity, working to create models capable of predicting how insect species will adapt and diversify as the planet grows warmer. Historically, there has always been a direct link between insect pests, human disease and crop plants. Changes in that relationship could have a disastrous impact on human health and food supplies.
As temperature and precipitation changes increase and new insect pests move into northern New Jersey, residents will be able to rely on licensed New Jersey pest control companies to protect them from new invaders.