Report: climate change means more ticks, mosquitoes, poison ivy

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation outlines how climate change is connected to a proliferation of menacing outdoor pests, from poison ivy to ticks. Graphic credit: Schoharie County, New York.

SALT LAKE CITY – Climate change is connected to all kinds of creepy-crawly critters, according to a new National Wildlife Federation <a href=”http://www.nwf.org/%7E/media/PDFs/Global-Warming/Reports/2014/Ticked-Off-LOW-RES-FINAL-081814.pdf” target=”parent”>report</a> that details how climate change is affecting the outdoor experience in Utah and across the U.S.

NWF senior scientist Doug Inkley emphasizes that hunters, anglers, bird-watchers and hikers have long known they have to cover up and watch for stinging and biting insects – and he says the risks are multiplying as seasons arrive earlier and later.

“I’m talking about deer ticks,” he says. “We’re talking about poison ivy. These species that are so bothersome to us are actually able to now proliferate because of the changing climate.”

The report notes garden and crop pests also are growing in numbers, with certain types of stink bugs and other non-natives munching vegetables and other plants.

The report calls for approval of proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Inkley adds that humans aren’t the only ones trying to fend off pests and other complications of climate change.

“There are ways that we can help wildlife be more resistant or adaptive to climate change,” he explains. “For example, we can protect corridors of habitat, so that as habitats are shifting, the animals can move as well.”

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