Posted on February 24, 2012 at 6:52 AM
Friday, Feb 24 at 8:19 AM
AUSTIN -- Susan Bryson wants to keep fire ants and any other bug from getting inside her home in Northeast Austin. She's convinced the recent rains and mild weather are the reasons why ants invaded her home.
"I believe that we've had acrobat ants, and carpenter ants, and some little teeny-tiny black ants that were so little," said Bryson.
This winter has been ideal for critters that creep and crawl. There were only four days of temperatures at or below freezing at Austin's Camp Mabry, and we've had only two bug-killing hard freezes in Austin.
Bryson's ant infestation got so bad, she sounded the alarm. J&J Pest Control came to her rescue.
"We're seeing ants actually swarming. We've had some carpenter ants swarming in people's houses. This is about a month too early. Crane flies you usually see; they're the harbinger of spring," said Monica Malone, president and manager of J&J Pest Control.
It's not just homeowners. Tony Tudyk is president of Frankenstein Computers. When his company recently moved to a building in North Austin, he discovered some tenants didn't move out.
"The building had been empty for a while, so we had problems with ants, roaches - the big ones, and silverfish," explained Tudyk.
Unoccupied buildings can harbor insects, but Tudyk suspects our mild and wet winter made the problem worse.
At the University of Texas' bug lab, entomologist John Abbott warns mosquitoes and termites could cause problems too.
"All of these rains may encourage termites to do a lot of swarming earlier on and in larger numbers than is typical, so pest control companies may see a lot more calls regarding termites this year," said Dr. Abbott.
At Bryson's home, the ants are gone now, but they're a hardy bunch, and like other insects, they're always looking to get inside your home.
"And the next thing you know, you're brushing your teeth - an American roach drops off the ceiling onto you and you're screaming at five o'clock in the morning," said Malone.
There is one consolation with the rain -- at least the grass is greener.