"Urban warming can lead to higher insect pest abundance, a result of pest acclimation or adaptation to higher temperatures," said study author Emily Meineke from North Carolina State University in a press release.
Meineke and her co-authors suggested that the outbreaks of bugs in the city may be a warning for forests in a warming world.
"Since urban warming is similar in magnitude to global warming predicted in the next 50 years, pest abundance on city trees may foreshadow widespread outbreaks as natural forests also grow warmer," the authors wrote in PLOS ONE.
ANALYSIS: Bug Turns Pest Into Supermom
Bad news for trees may be good news for ants. Some species of ants tend scale insects as if they were livestock. The ants guard the scale insects and collect their secretions, called honeydew. The ants then feed upon the scale insects' honeydew, like a dairy farmer drinking milk.
IMAGE: Ants tending scale insects for honeydew (Alex Wild, Wikimedia Commons)