It may not quite be spring just yet, but there are some definite signs (despite the cold weather) that spring is around the corner!
My very favorite tree has started to bloom in some parts of town - Mountain Laurels. If you love Mountain Laurels as much as I do, start watching out for Mountain Laurel Mirids and Genista Caterpillars, which will start to feed on the new growth of the trees. If you see caterpillars, you may consider using Bt or Spinosad to eliminate them and allow that new growth to come out. Your tree will not be harmed by the caterpillars, but it won't get any larger. Mirids aren't as damaging - just know that those little red and black bugs aren't killing the Mountain Laurel and let them have a snack!
Another sign that it will start to warm up soon is that my grass has finally started to come out of dormancy in some spots in the yard. I can see pretty green below the straw colored sleeping parts. Now, I just need to wait for some more rain to wake it up a little more.
And, the ultimate Ground Hog of the entomological world is the Crane Fly! I saw my first crane fly the other day (then it froze and the crane fly has been too cold to move ever since!).
Contrary to popular belief, crane flies are not giant mosquitoes or insects that eat mosquitoes. In fact, they probably don't even have functioning mouthparts as an adult. Crane flies can be found active through the summer, but early spring is their hayday. Expect to see many of them at your porch lights at night.
No reason to be scared of them. They can't bite, they don't hurt, and they will not infest your home. If they bother you, consider turning off all outside lights to prevent them from coming close to the house.
Enjoy the spring! I, for one, cannot wait for the warmer weather!