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Sunday 25 September 2016

Creepy-crawlies have fun in the sun as reports of insects show big increase

Published 29/08/2016 | 00:11

Reports of ants increased by 73%, says Rentokil
Reports of ants increased by 73%, says Rentokil

Summer time and the living is easy - for stinging, biting, swarming insects.

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Experts have recorded soaring numbers of complaints about creepy-crawlies due to warm weather.

Reports of ants increased by 73%, of wasps by 39% and of flies by 30% from May to July compared with the same period last year, said pest controllers Rentokil.

David Cross, who heads the company's technical training academy, said: "The mild wet winter and last year's 'Indian summer' have contributed to a significant spike in pest activity this summer. In particular we have recorded significant increases in enquiries regarding ants, flies and wasps."

Mild winter conditions have allowed more fly pupae to survive and hatch as soon as warmer weather set in, he explained. Flies laid eggs in batches of 30 to 500, each of which had the potential to develop into a pupa and finally an adult.

Similarly, more ants had managed to remain alive in their nests over the winter period to emerge in greater numbers as temperatures rose.

Mr Cross added: " The increase in wasps is most likely to have been driven by the warm and dry autumn experienced last year.

Male wasps die off in cooler months as the queen goes into hibernation, but due to the mild weather wasp activity continued well into the autumn, allowing more time for breeding and creating more queens to come out of hibernation this year.

"Once active they start building their nests and laying eggs to create new worker wasps incredibly quickly, and large nests are capable of producing up to 25,000 wasps in a single season."

While flies were one of the most common causes of food poisoning, wasps were capable of delivering highly painful stings multiple times.

Although ants were generally harmless, indoors they quickly became a nuisance as they laid down chemical trails for the colony to follow to food sources.

"Now that these pests are out and about it's important that residents and business take care and, in particular exercise good hygiene habits to avoid pests this summer," said Mr Cross.

"They are constantly scavenging for something to eat, so putting away food, cleaning up mess and ensuring garbage is collected regularly are simple precautions we can all take.

"However, a serious infestation, especially in the case of wasps and flies, will require a professional pest expert to treat the problem."

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