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Mild Winter Could Bring A "Buggy" Spring | Weather

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Mild Winter Could Bring A "Buggy" Spring
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FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA) -- All kinds of bugs...  good and bad bugs like mosquitoes, which means we have to worry about West Nile Virus, ants and even fleas on our pets!

"The huge increase in pest activity is making our business very good right now," said Paul Hoffmann with the Home Paramount Pest Control.

The creepy crawly critters are coming if they're not already here.
Pest control experts warn get ready for what could be a pest-filled spring and even summer!

"Your soil is still warm and everything is emerging from the soil," explained Hoffmann.

Hoffmann says ants are showing up earlier than usual, along with cockroaches. Mosquitoes, which carry the west nile virus, may not be far behind.

In fact, in his 16 years in the pest control business, Hoffmann says this past winter was his busiest ever!

But not all of this bug news is bad news, that's because nature likes to balance itself out. The idea is if there a lot more bugs, there should be more predators eating them.

Entomologist, or "bug lady", as Donna Stockton likes to call herself, says don't start trying to kill of the bugs. Some are actually good for your flowers and plants!

"For example, my mother's peonies, I caught her outside spraying her peonies. It's the ants that make the peonies so beautiful," said Donna Stockton, Washington National Zoo "bug lady".

Experts add homeowners should focus on prevention... Like hiring a pest control company to conduct quarterly treatments, which can cost 3-400 dollars a year for an average home like this.
It's much cheaper than dealing with the damage pests can cause when they take over.

"Prevention is key because you're going to have a pest problem," said Hoffmann. "It's either now or later."

The reason why we need a cold winter with a good deep freeze is it kills a lot of the bugs, acting like a reset button. That's what farmers call that time, which then allows for a fresh start for planting season.

Local veterinarians also add they've seen a lot more flea cases in dogs and cats recently and they fear it could get worse. So they're also warning warn pet owners to start taking preventative measures now.

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