Early season rain forecast – Increased pest populations

Jan 17, 2019, 10:17 AM by Fred Speer

With El Niño-like weather delivering plenty of rain and snow to California and the entire West Coast, Clark, your neighborly pest control expert, is offering his forecast on how that precipitation will affect pest pressures in and around your home.

Ryan Neff, Director of Education at Clark Pest Control, says early winter wet weather will influence pest activity and potentially will increase pest population levels.

“It varies by pest type,” he says, “but the wetter the conditions, the more conducive it is to increased pest activity.”

Moist soil and consistent rain promotes plant growth, and this abundance of plants, weeds, and grasses provides ample food and harborage sources for a variety of pests. And with plenty of plants to feed on, insect pest populations are primed for a significant explosion when warmer spring and summer weather arrives.

What pests will benefit most from an El Niño weather pattern? Neff says that occasional invaders –including false chinch bugs, milkweed bugs, and Mediterranean red bugs – are among the pests that homeowners are most likely to encounter this spring as a result of the wet conditions.

“These pests thrive on moist conditions and the presence of weeds and tall grasses,” Neff says. “We’ll see an increase in calls from customers, but the good thing is that these pests are more of a nuisance and typically die off after a few days. But their initial presence is unsettling.”

More abundant vegetation also provides rodents with the food and shelter sources they desire. Homes and structures located near fields or woods, where excess vegetation growth is present, can be at a higher risk for foraging rodents looking to gain access.

“If the vegetation growth is close to a structure, rodents can be shielded from natural predators and allowed to forage freely under the cover of weeds and plants,” Neff says.  

Ants, one of California’s most populous families of insects, are also impacted by the moist conditions. While these insects, especially the Argentine ant, usually thrive in moist conditions, they have their limits. Neff says that ants will seek access to homes in search of drier conditions if heavy rains persist and the soil is overly saturated.

In California’s Central Valley, Turkestan cockroaches – which usually prefer dry conditions – are also being driven indoors by the wet conditions.

To help mitigate the threat posed by growing pest populations and eliminate their newfound nesting sites, Clark Pest Control offers weed control and vegetation management services. Now is the ideal time to have weed control services performed – before they take hold and become a problem in the spring.

Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if you’re having problems with pests in and around your home. You can also drop us an email at clarkcares@clarkpest.com to let us know how we can serve your pest control and lawn care needs.

Until next time, I’m Clark – and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.