Summer may have sting in its tail, experts warn

Flying ant
Flying ant
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Wigan homeowners have been warned to brace themselves for a summer of bugs.

Warm spring temperatures across much of the UK, following one of the mildest winters on record, have helped to create ideal breeding conditions for insects.

And experts say the population of wasps, flies, ants and fleas could soar as a result.

Ian Urquhart, who runs Advanced Pest Management, said: “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’ll only know for sure later in the year, but it could be that we’re facing a bumper season for insects.”

Similar conditions last year contributed to a spike in summer pest activity and Mr Urquhart, a committee member for professional register BASIS PROMPT, believes this year could see even more.

He added: “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.

“We can probably expect to see more wasps this year too because of the warm and dry autumn experienced last year.

“Female wasps usually die off as the queen enters hibernation, but their activity last year will have continued well into the autumn – giving more time for breeding and enabling more queens to come out of hibernation this year.”

Stephen Jacob, chief executive of PROMPT, says it’s vital for homeowners and businesses to exercise good hygiene habits and take suitable precautions if they’re to avoid an infestation this summer.

He said: “Pests are always on the look-out for food so cleaning up mess and ensuring bins are emptied regularly are simple precautions that we should all be taking.

“People who do end up with a serious infestation would be well advised to appoint a professional pest controller. The treatment of pests is often complicated and specialised and a problem can quickly get out of hand.

“Millions of pounds are wasted on failed home treatments every year so ignoring the professional approach just to save money can prove to be a false economy.”

PROMPT is an industry initiative which provides independent proof that a pest controller has received proper training and continues to update their expertise.

Mr Jacob added: “Unqualified traders can land householders with huge bills for jobs that are often only half-finished. Our identity card is widely recognised as a symbol of quality and professionalism. It helps expert pest controllers to stand out from the crowd.

“All technicians on our database are fully qualified and up to date with the latest products and techniques, so homeowners can be sure anyone carrying the card is exactly who they say they are.”

Last year was a particularly bad one for ants in the borough and the Wigan Post gave voice to several complaints, particularly about the flying varities which are, in fact, queens which will fly off to set up their own colonies.

Concerns were also raised over the arrival of yellowjacket wasps, with a nastier sting, coming over from Germany.