In the meantime, some regions are almost drowning in snow – but it started harmlessly: At first, the winter hardly brought us any snow. White Christmas? Nothing. In large parts of the country, the weather was dominated by mild, almost spring-like temperatures. This may be pleasant for some summer people, but for nature, permanently mild weather would have far-reaching consequences.
COLD, FROST AND SNOW TO PROTECT THE ECOLOGICAL BALANCE
Temperatures that are too warm for the time of year make nature quite confused. Occasionally, early bloomers start to sprout and many native mammals, which normally hibernate or hibernate, are active. But it is the cold that many plants and animals need to get through the winter well. Trees and bushes are literally dependent on frost and sub-zero temperatures. In winter, the plants remain in a state of hibernation in which they have little resistance. Mild temperatures, however, favor the proliferation of fungi and pests that attack the bark and can even damage the wood in an emergency. A hard winter is also beneficial for agriculture, as the frost penetrates the soil, loosening it and at the same time eliminating many pests.
MILD WINTER – A RISK FOR BENEFICIAL INSECTS
Beneficial insects are important for the ecological balance and are welcome by gardeners and farmers. However, they suffer from the mild weather, as they are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Bumblebees and honeybees, for example, hibernate during the winter, but fly out during lukewarm periods because they confuse the warm temperatures with the beginning of spring. However, they cannot find food because there are no flowers far and wide. As a result, the bumblebee feeds on its fat reserves, which it actually needs in spring to build its nest. The honey bee also has to struggle with an increased energy requirement and uses up its winter reserves. The beneficial insects therefore run the risk of starving to death in the event of a sudden cold spell.
MILD WINTERS LEAVE PESTS COLD
A proper, cold winter is so important because it is a natural tool for regulating pest populations. However, if temperatures remain mild, wasps, mosquitoes, aphids, bark beetles and other vermin have relatively good survival conditions. As a result, previous pest populations are preserved, which – due to rapid reproduction – can quickly become a serious plague in the new year. We should therefore look forward to a decent winter – because nature urgently needs it.