Sweltering temperatures and dry conditions have created the perfect storm for pest populations.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that the especially hot temperatures much of the country has experienced this summer are leading to increased populations of many pests, including ants, fleas, ticks, termites, scorpions, brown recluse spiders, black widow spiders, Japanese beetles, pincher bugs and earwigs.
“Insects are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperatures are regulated by the temperature of their environment,” explained Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “In cold weather, insects’ internal temperatures drop, causing them to slow down. But in warm weather, they become more active. Larvae grow at a faster rate, reproduction cycles speed up and they move faster.“
According to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, the first half of 2012 has been the warmest on record for the U.S. mainland since record keeping began in 1895. This summer has been especially brutal, with heat waves sending temperatures soaring in 20 states and breaking more than 170 all-time warmth records. In addition, unusually dry weather is causing wide-spread droughts, which when combined with the heat, can increase pest infestations.
“Hot and dry conditions send many pests indoors, as they seek moisture and cooler temperatures, says Henriksen. That means renters and landlords likely will encounter more pests in their homes than usual. Even areas of the country that are receiving rain aren’t in the clear, as standing rain water breeds mosquitoes, which can spread West Nile virus.
It’s wise to keep an eye out for pests during routine property inspections. DIY pest control can be dangerous. If you find pests in the property, Henriksen recommends contacting a licensed pest professional. They will be able to properly identify your pest problem and recommend a course of treatment.
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