Explainer: What’s up with all these bugs?

Just when you thought the wet weather had ruined your summer plans, it’s not done with you yet.


Now it’s bringing yet another universal hatred into your life – more flies.

New Zealand’s on track to experience what experts are calling a ‘plague’ of insects in the coming months.

This is why.

It all has to do with the weather

Weather

The onslaught of rain mixed with muggy temperatures has facilitated the perfect breeding ground in drains, puddles, and piles of grass that hold moisture.

Pest Management Association of New Zealand's Paul Craddock predicts we will see mosquitos, midges, ants, spiders and flies multiply more than usual.

“The fly season is going to go pretty crazy,” says Craddock.

“We're seeing problems in places people haven't had problems before - places in the deep south of New Zealand like Bluff or Invercargill."

Blame it on climate change

Climate change

Experts predict that the spike in bugs is set to get worse and that we’ll even start to see them in places that haven’t seen them before.

Debug Nelson owner Shane Warland says it all has to do with our mild winter.

New Zealand’s hotter than normal winter didn’t kill off the usual number of insects.

Along with the wetter than normal summer we will see some of the most on record.

"I think this summer is really going to boom for ants," he says.

What does this mean for you?

House

Apart from the obvious, your house is about to get a lot more crowded.

"A little bit of rain and they head for high ground, so inside they come,” says Warland.

Food

Experts are also advising more vigilance when it comes to food preparation.

"There's strong evidence to show that they will spread food-borne illnesses,” says Craddock.

Insects generally carry bacteria on their bodies like campylobacter and salmonella.

And they jump from things like raw food and dog faeces to BBQ salads and sausages.

What can you do?

Hygiene

It all starts with simple hygiene.

Bugs are generally attracted by the allure of still air and the smell of food and rubbish.

Keeping kitchen benches wiped, smelly trash bags out, and pet bowls clean are all things that will help.

Creating good airflow in your home with ceiling or pedestal fans and fly screens is also key.

And the obvious – investing in good fly spray.

Along with being a tidy Kiwi will contribute to keeping the bugs out and your frustration in check.

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