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Notes about your surroundings.

The Bug-Free Summer?--Although the cooler-than-normal summer has been a bummer for beach-goers, it has been a boon in at least one way--residences are not getting the usual hot-weather influx of insects, especially fleas.

Pest control officials throughout the county report that phone inquiries about how to get rid of insects in the home are down this summer compared to years past.

Tim Saunders, president of Mission Pest Control, which serves all of Orange County and parts of San Diego and Riverside counties, said that his company usually receives about 6,000 calls a month in the summer, but that this summer it has received an average of 4,000.

“By far it’s because we are getting fewer calls about fleas,” Saunders said. He said cooler temperatures cause flea eggs to hatch at a slower pace, thus restricting their populations.

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The cooler weather stretches out the flea egg’s cycle, Saunders said. “When it is cool, it might take a month to complete; but with 80-degree temperatures, they can do it in 10 days.”

With warmer days likely to be ahead, residents--especially those with dogs and cats--should be aware that there could still be thousands of flea eggs in their carpets and furniture waiting to hatch.

“We’re not home free yet. . . . We usually get a torrent of calls the first week of September,” Saunders said.

Ants, however, are another story. With the recent spate of drizzly mornings, some homes have been barraged with ants.

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Ants, it seems, are perennial. “When it suddenly gots hot, we’ll have an ant problem; when it gets cool, we’ll have an ant problem. And especially when it rains, we’ll have an ant problem,” Saunders said.

The best way to keep ants out of the house is to find their point of entry and spray it and the surrounding area with an insecticide. Ants are attracted to food. An open container is a magnet, so any such item should be covered and put away.


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