My dad used to say our cold Minnesota winters "keep out the riffraff."
That wouldn't win him any PC awards these days. But it's true in the bigger context I now understand to include critters like invasive insect species that can harm Minnesota's forests.
Minnesota's extreme cold has benefits. My conversations with renowned University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology director Lee Frelich have taught me that extreme cold in Minnesota is critical to forest health.
Lee says extreme cold is critical for achieving high insect mortality rates. The cold is good news for ash trees who are under attack from the emerald ash borer.
When temperatures hit minus 36 to minus 40 in Minnesota, up to 99 percent of ash borer larvae can die.
So when you see extreme cold in the forecast, there are reasons for Minnesotans to celebrate.
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