September 21, 2017

Warm spring could result in an increasing number of fleas

Flea
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A warm spring could result in hoards of insects invading homes in the area this summer, according to the boss of a pest control firm. Warm spring temperatures, on the back of one of the mildest winters on record, have helped to create ideal breeding conditions for insects. Experts say the population of wasps, flies, ants and fleas could soar as a result.

Ian Urquhart, of Ashbourne-based pest control register Basis Prompt, said: “The numbers of many pests in the UK are naturally diminished by cold winters, but the weather has been very different this year and it has been much milder than normal. Many will have come out of hibernation early to seek food and begin the reproduction process and that will have continued through a warm spring.

“Pests that would usually remain dormant for much longer could have become active sooner, potentially leading to more prolific breeding trends and a larger population. We’ll only know for sure later in the year but it could be that we’re facing a bumper season for insects.”

Similar conditions last year contributed to a spike in summer pest activity and Mr Urquhart believes this year could see even more.

He added: “Most insects benefit from warmer weather which allows for longer periods of ideal conditions for egg-laying and hatching. The mild winter will have allowed more fly pupae to survive and hatch as soon as the warmer weather sets in, while ants are likely to emerge in greater numbers as temperatures rise.

“We can probably expect to see more wasps this year too because of the warm and dry autumn experienced last year. Female wasps usually die off as the queen enters hibernation, but their activity last year will have continued well into the autumn – giving more time for breeding and enabling more queens to come out of hibernation this year.”

Stephen Jacob, chief executive of Basis Prompt, says it’s vital for homeowners and businesses to exercise good hygiene habits and take suitable precautions if they’re to avoid an infestation this summer.

Top tips for keeping bugs at bay:

  • Always keep the floors clean and wipe up any spills straight away. It’s a good idea to vacuum the whole house at least once a week, paying particular attention to the kitchen.
  • Keep the sink area particularly clean and wash dishes once they’ve been used rather than leaving them out. Work surfaces should be clean and free from crumbs.
  • Make sure all food and drink containers kept outside the fridge are sealed tightly. Keep fruit in the fridge, especially when it’s ripe.
  • Ensure kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms even airing cupboards remain dry and fix any leaking pipes straight away.
  • Keep pets as clean as possible, empty litter trays regularly and never leave pet food out overnight, particularly when temperatures are high.
  • Empty all bins, particularly those containing food leftovers, every day – don’t leave them overnight.
  • Outside, check door and window frames, roof joints and looking for obvious cracks in brickwork and patios. Consider covering ventilation covers with wire mesh.
  • Keep the area around your home free of clutter, don’t stack wood next to the walls and don’t leave piles of leaves lying around. Plants should be kept cut back.
  • Gutters and drainpipes should also be kept free of debris. Remove standing water from buckets and other objects. Keep compost in a container with a tight lid.
  • Make sure the garage is free from damp, check each corner for wasps and hornets nests and store items in plastic boxes, ideally off the floor.

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