The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The Dallas Warm Winter Welcomes Summer Bugst

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Bug season is upon us. Mosquitos will be particularly pesky this summer.

Bug season is upon us. Mosquitos will be particularly pesky this summer.

It’s only April and SMU cross-country runner Caitlin Keen is already dodging bugs on her outdoor runs. “It’s hard to talk to my teammates while we are on our runs because I feel like gnats are going to fly into my mouth,” said Keen.

The warm winter is coming back to bug Dallas residents this summer. The Dallas heat in December and January gave pests a chance to increase their population earlier than expected.

“Because there was no winter and it didn’t kill anything off, there is going to be a major major infestation of all different kinds. Mostly caterpillars, grub worms, beetle type bugs,” said Cindi Koder, the store manager of Jackson’s Home & Garden on Lemmon Avenue.

Experts say all different bugs types have bred early and will invade all areas of Dallas this summer.

“We’ve already seen it and we’re only in the beginning of April. It’s just going to be a major increase of all kinds of insects this year – flying, crawling, biting, you name it. They are going to be out there,” said Scott Whitzel from Jackson’s Mosquito & Pest Control, which sends bug techs on location to treat for bug problems.

A cold winter is crucial for keeping bugs at bay because the majority of insects die off and become dormant in freezing temperatures. The typical warm weather in Dallas doesn’t begin until late April or early May but this year it began months ahead of time.

“If you don’t have that freeze you’ve got your next generation of insects that are developing already before you even get to warm weather,” said Whitzel.

One Dallas resident, Elizabeth McKnight, the administration assistant to director of facilities at SMU, has been experiencing an increase of ants at her house. She said there isn’t a way to completely stop the bugs from entering her house but she can take safety precautions. Safety precautions are important because the increased number of bugs is dangerous to the health of all living things.

“Bugs carry diseases, that’s probably the main thing. Also, if you live in an apartment complex, you’re not only affecting you but you are affecting your neighbors,” said Jordan Duyck, a pest control tech for Jackson’s.

Bugs carry diseases such as the West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include a fever, abdominal pain, sore throat, diarrhea, and vomiting. Since this is the first time in a few years that Dallas didn’t experience a cold winter, many believe the disease will be more prevalent this summer.

“You haven’t heard about it in the past couple of years because we’ve had such cold winters and such sustained winters that it killed off a lot of the mosquitoes and they weren’t able to breed in the springtime and then with the drought that we’ve had,” said Whitzel.

Bugs aren’t only dangerous to humans. They are also harmful to plants and trees. Grub worms attack grass; aphids eat the buds of plants; spider mites attack the leaves and buds of plants; mealy bugs eat leaves. These are just a few that cause damage to plants and trees.

“They can be very dangerous,” said Koder.

If there is a visible bug problem, experts say to treat the area as soon as possible before it gets to the point when it’s unmanageable.

“You don’t want to disregard it because it will get worse and worse and you will get sick,” said Whitzel.

The increased number of bugs will also be harmful to buildings and the damages can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair.

“There’s a lot of pests that are out there already that you can already pest proof your home,” said Whitzel.

It is important not to treat something that isn’t an issue or isn’t out of control because it can put the lives of other living things into danger due to the strong chemicals.

“It’s best to not treat unless you see a problem,” said Koder.

Most pest services are aware that it is important to not treat areas that don’t need to be treated. Therefore, pest techs will usually go around the exterior of homes and spray openings and pathways where bugs have access into buildings.

“We treat where we need to and fix where we need to,” said Whitzel.

Plant treatments are usually not organically made. Therefore, they consist of intense chemicals that can be dangerous to animals in the area.

 

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