Insects: Soggy Weather is Keeping Some Pests in Hiding, Many Using the Time to Reproduce
New Brunswickers aren't the only ones waiting out this spring's soggy weather indoors. Insects are hiding out in homes and offices too. And their company can carry serious consequences.
"Ants are the number one problem that people are having this time of year, no ifs, ands or buts," said Don McCarthy, president and owner of Braemar Pest Control.
The wet spring is driving ants into homes across the province as the water-weary critters look for food sources that are protected from the rain, he said. While some species of ants are only an annoyance, carpenter ants and European fire ants can cause serious problems.
"These little guys are very aggressive and will attack you and come after you for invading their turf," McCarthy said of fire ants. The invasive species first showed up in Maine during the 1940s and '50s, and have slowly made their way into the Maritimes, with infestations spiking noticeably in the last five years, he said.
"It's a problem that's only going to get worse," McCarthy said. Gardeners moving plants from nurseries to their home are spreading the fire ants around the region. He said the bugs are particularly bad in Halifax and Pictou, N.S., but there has been a growing number of infestations in Charlotte County and around Greater Saint John.
"There's also the potential there for ants to carry germs and spread disease," said Mike Heimbach of Able Pest Control. He said his company has received hundreds of calls over the last few weeks from people with the little insects in their homes.
The rain will lead to more headaches as the temperature rises in the coming months, said Greg Flynn, supervisor for Braemar in New Brunswick, as black flies, mosquitoes and other insects hatch out of pools of water left from the spring rain.
"We're going to have a bumper crop of earwigs," said Flynn. "Everything has been hiding in their holes and reproducing."
In Fredericton, authorities are wrestling with a city-wide bug problem, an infestation of a yet-to-be identified larva in lawns across town. Preliminary tests on the larvae show it is a relative of the European chafer beetle, a pest that is wreaking havoc in lawns in Ontario. The beetle isn't the biggest problem though, it's the skunks and raccoons that eat them.
"They dig up the lawn until it looks like a rototiller has gone through it," said Councillor Stephen Kelly, who raised the issue at a Community Services Committee meeting earlier this month. "Whatever it is, it's causing substantial damage at an alarming rate and control measures are needed."
General Manager - Staff Entomologist