RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It has begun! That persistent film of pollen that takes over our lives in spring is rearing its head across our communities.

“This year it’s probably about a week early compared to what we’ve seen over the last couple years, but it’s definitely within the normal range of when we start to see the production of pine pollen,” Dr. Robert Bardon of NC State University explains.

He says even with our warm end to winter, pollen this year is pretty much on time, and his estimates say the peak will likely be early to mid-April.

So while you may want to get your allergies meds ready, don’t blame all your sneezes and sniffles on the yellow pine pollen.

“Most of our allergies from a tree pollen standpoint are our hardwood trees and it’s a much smaller grain pollen that’s rough, and it’s an irritant,” Dr. Bardon says. “Where our pine pollen is a much bigger grain and smoother, and it just happens to occur mostly at the same time.”

We complain about it and suffer through our allergies, but we would not have the world as we know it without pollen.

“It’s the way they reproduce, most of our plants reproduce through pollen, and with that we wouldn’t have food or any plant-based industry products,” Dr Bardon explains.

No food is obviously a bad thing, but no pollen would also impact things like office supplies, even our homes, all of which come from a huge industry here in North Carolina.

“Without it we would be impacting a forest product industry that’s almost a $35 billion economic impact in our state.”

We will likely always complain about the pollen here in North Carolina, but our lives would be a lot different without it.