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More Urban Pest Problems Blamed On Drought

Chedder / Flickr

Chedder / Flickr

Have you noticed more flies, ants and spiders in your home? Pest control companies say business is up. And it's likely because of the drought.

Bug experts like to joke about the Sacramento area having five seasons.

"Which are winter, spring, summer, fall and fly," says Lynn Kimsey, an entomology professor at UC Davis and head of the university's Bohart Museum of Entomology.

She explains that the house fly population is normally at its height in early fall, or harvest season, when fly larvae are breeding in rotting tomato material left in the fields. Kimsey says this year is different.

"The populations are much larger than I've seen before at this time of year," says Kimsey. "What I'm seeing now is more like what you would expect to see in early August for example."

Kimsey says it's because it didn't get cold or wet enough last winter to kill off the larvae in adult flies. The situation is the same with fleas. 

The lack of a wet winter is also being blamed for other vermin. In fact, business for Clark Pest Control in Sacramento is way up.

"Roughly a 20 percent to 30 percent increase over this time last year," says Clark's Darren Van Steenwyk.

He says spiders are thriving in the dry and dusty conditions. Meanwhile, ants are looking for moisture and since they can't find it outdoors, they're invading people's homes. The same with rodents.

"The natural flora and fauna that these rodents, specifically rats and mice, live on are not there," says Van Steenwyk.

Clark Pest Control has added more staff in the field and in the office to handle the increase in business.

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