Warm winter expected to bring summer bug infestation

Due to a warm summer, insects that usually die off in the winter are still out in full bloom. (WRDW-TV / March 9, 2012)
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News 12 First at Five / Friday, March 9, 2012

EVANS, Ga. -- We've had one of the warmest winters on record, and not breaking in that winter coat may soon be the least of your worries.

Experts say the warm temperatures may be good news to some unwelcome pests.

Since temperatures never really dipped low and stayed low, a lot of insects that typically die off during the winter cold are still going strong.

Tom Schiltz, a homeowner from Evans, recently noticed a few unwelcome house guests.

"They're very annoying. You just gotta get rid of them. I don't want them," he said. "Upstairs we had roaches and so forth. We had some flies, but we didn't know exactly what they were. And, outside, he had a pretty big ant problem."

Mark Gincerowski, an exterminator for Horne's Pest Control, said Schiltz had ants trailing all around his pool, concrete area and out near his trees.

He says ants are a problem we usually don't see until later in the year.

"Generally, this time of year, we find them [ants] deeper in the ground, but they've just been active all winter long from having no cold spell," Gincerowski said.

And ants aren't the only things to worry about.

"Termites can become a factor. We have already seen some swarming termites due to the warm weather, which isn't unusual, but the numbers we're seeing are unusual. We're getting more and more calls," he said.

Making folks like Schiltz, who like a bug-free existence, a little squirmy.

"Especially with the pool, I like to try to remain insect-less, if there is such a word," Schiltz said.

But there are a few things you can do to try to prevent creepy crawlies from finding their way inside.

"Where your plumbing lines go through walls there's usually a large opening and that's just a highway for any insect or even rodent to come in, so it's a good idea to seal them up with either a steel wool or an expandable foam product," Gincerowski said.

He said it's a good idea to keep your gutters cleaned out and seal up any cracks around windows or doors.

Experts are expecting to see a pretty big insect problem this summer. They are expecting ants to be the worst, but they also expect fleas, mosquitoes and termites to be pretty bad.

Gincerowski said keeping your yard cut well and not leaving a lot of debris lying around will help keep unwanted insects at bay. Also, make sure there isn't any standing water contained in outside items like wheelbarrows or old flower pots.

Also, mulch -- making sure it's several feet from your house and regularly cleaned out. He said adding mulch on top of old mulch is just a breeding ground for bugs.