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TheStreet Open House

Unseasonably Warm Weather Could Mean Busy Spring Pest Season

ATLANTA, March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Atlanta-based pest control leader Orkin, the above-average winter temperatures could mean that pests will come out earlier than usual and in greater numbers.

"The mild winter weather could have a ripple effect on pest activity," said Jim Warneke, Orkin's Southeast division technical services manager. "Insects stay in a hibernation-like state during the winter since cold temperatures slow down their metabolism and reproduction cycles. But with the season's above-average temperatures, we could have larger numbers of ants, termites, cockroaches and mosquitoes this spring."

Ants Many homeowners consider ants to be one of the most serious pests. There are more than 10,000 species worldwide, and about 50 of those in the U.S. Ants can infest homes by coming in through the tiniest of cracks, and controlling them is difficult because they leave an invisible pheromone trail for others to follow once they find a food source. There are three main categories of ants: nuisance, health (such as fire ants) and structural (such as carpenter ants).

"Another common sign in the spring is a group of ants with wings which can be confused with termite swarms," said Warneke. "It's a common misconception because of their similar appearance. Correctly identifying an ant infestation determines the best treatment method."

Termites When the temperature rises above 60 degrees, termites often swarm inside homes before moving outdoors to search for food and water. Termites are found in every state except Alaska and thrive in warm and humid climates. 

"Termites get moisture from the ground or use moisture found in a home or building from leaks or condensation," said Warneke. "Moisture, combined with increasing temperatures, makes springtime conditions ideal for termite activity."

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