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15 May 2017

Expert Warns of Summer Insect Invasion Following Unusual Winter Weather

Warming winters might sound appealing at first, but they do unfortunately carry issues of their own. We reported recently on the problems caused by rising winter temperatures in the Alaskan tundra, and whilst the issues we’re likely to experience at home are decidedly less damaging, they’re still far from pleasant.

It’s particularly bad news for the entomophobes amongst you, as according to an industry expert the UK looks likely to be inundated with a vastly heightened insect population as summer draws closer; a result of the relatively mild winter and warm start to spring we have experienced this year.

The warmer weather has created an ideal environment for insect populations, allowing them to remain active and breeding much later into the year than usual. Combine this with the fact that cold winters are typically responsible for keeping the insect populations in check, diminishing their numbers with bitter temperatures and hazardous weather conditions, and the problem becomes apparent rather quickly.

Iain Urquhart, proprietor and director at pest-control company Advanced Pest Management, said of the situation, “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 will only know for sure later in the year, but it could be that we are facing a bumper season for insects.”

Wasps, flies, ants and fleas in particular reportedly look set to experience a population surge until and throughout summer 2017.

The predictions follow an unusually warm winter in which the average temperature throughout the UK was a surprisingly mild 5°C. Similar conditions the previous winter were seen to contribute to a rise in insect populations over the following year, and Mr Urquhart expects this effect to be even more pronounced this time around, with wasps gaining a significant advantage as a result of a warm and dry autumn in 2016.

Mr Urquhart states, “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.

“Female wasps usually die off as the queen enters hibernation, but their activity last year will have continued well into the autumn.

“This will have given them more time for breeding and will enable more queens to come out of hibernation this year.”

Homeowners are advised to ensure that they are following good hygiene practices and properly disposing of household waste, as such pests are constantly on the lookout for food sources and will quickly be lured in by unsanitary conditions. A failure to do so could lead to quite the infestation this summer, and nobody wants that.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.