Warmer weather causing larger bugs!
Several of our Channel 3 viewers have recently sent in photos of the venomous Black Widow Spider. Have you noticed bugs may be a tad larger this summer?
Channel 3 wanted to find out: does weather and climate play a role. We spoke to UTC's Dr. Beasley, and she tells us the weather, plays a huge factor.
The first law of Thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Conservation, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. And heat is energy.
"This is great weather for an insect, you know the warm weather...the humidity.." states Dr. DeAnna Beasley, Ph.D. of Sciences at UTC.
Beasley talks about energy, and how just like any living organism, the more energy readily available, the species can thrive, not having to worry about keeping warm and just living.
"It needs energy, it has to what researchers call, thermoregulate, to actually develop and grow," adds Beasley.
For this reason, the Black Widow is smaller in a cooler climate, such as in upstate New York. In Chattanooga, May 2019, was the 3rd warmest on record. Prior to this mini cool spell, this July 2019, had been in the top 10 warmest on record, providing plenty of energy to thrive.
"Seeing an increase in a lot of their prey items, which is why you're seeing some very large spiders..they're just getting more to eat," states Beasley.
The Black Widow doesn't care for wet climates either, which could be why we've seen them after rainfall, near doors and window sills. While extremely venomous, fifteen times stronger than a rattlesnake, it's very rare for this shy species to bite. July marks a time when the adult Black Widow is at its most mature state. This specific arachnid will begin to die off in the next few weeks, resulting in fewer sightings by August.
Have a weather-related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.