How Cold Was Winter? Starving Rats Ate Trees: Page 2

"Given that temps have gotten really cold, and not for one night but for an extended period, there's a tendency for a lot of people to hope for insect mortality," Deborah McCullough, a professor of entomology and forestry at Michigan State University in East Lansing, told the Capital News Service (CNS).

Other invasive pests vulnerable to subzero temperatures include the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis), the brown marmorated stinkbug (Halyomorpha halys) and several species of ticks (Ixodes sp.), which can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Sorry, no rat Armageddon

The population of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), whose numbers are almost wholly dependent on humans for food, may drop somewhat this year as a result of wintry blasts.

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"If the snow gets really deep, and it's hard for young rats to jump across the snow and get to the food, then cold temperature might actually cause some mortality," urban ecologist Steve Sullivan of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museumin Chicago told Fox News Chicago.

But urbanites who are hoping that last winter's unusually bitter weather resulted in a rat Armageddon may be disappointed. Sullivan doesn't expect a major die-off from cold for a tough, smart animal like the rat.

"Norway rats are a very adaptable species," Sullivan told Fox News.

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