Frigid Weekend Could Kill Off Many Wasps

Union City, Tenn. (AP) -- A University of Tennessee entomologist says the frigid overnight temperatures this weekend will be tough on wasps.

Forecasters say lows Friday night and Saturday night will be in the 20s statewide, perhaps even the upper teens in some spots.

Doctor Frank hale says the insects have sort of a natural antifreeze they develop when the weather cools in the fall. It allows the wasps to live through winter hibernation.

But Hale says once warm weather sets in, the wasps lose that protection when they become active.

He says an abrupt cold snap is potentially lethal for them.

The insect expert says this weekend's weather could also kill off some fire ants.

While Tennessee could do with a lot fewer fire ants, Hale says don't be too quick to wish the wasps ill.

They kill and eat garden insects like caterpillars, which feed on vegetable plants. They also destroy bud worms and other tobacco pests.

On balance, Hale says, despite their rap for stinging folks, wasps do people more good than harm.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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