Bugs come marching in with record stretch of warm weather

Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 5:40 p.m. CDT; updated 9:17 a.m. CDT, Friday, May 11, 2012

COLUMBIA — Missouri hasn't experienced a seven-month stretch of unseasonably warm weather like this since 1932. 

October 2011 to April 2012 is the new record for above-average temperatures in the state, according to the Missouri Climate Center.

Insects have taken advantage of the spring weather to get a head start on infesting Columbia homes.

Meadows Condo Association resident Jenny Mummert said ants are an annual ritual in April or early May at her house. This year she was "dismayed" because they came marching over the kitchen sink in very early March, when it's normally still cold outside. 

“They share the earth. It’s their home too," Mummert said. "I just want them to stay in their own neighborhood.”

Weather in Missouri this April was about 3 degrees above average, while March was 14 degrees higher than normal and the warmest on record, according to the center.

Mike Calvert of Otto's Termite and Pest Control said calls for ant and termite exterminations have been coming in at least a month earlier than usual, and in greater volume.

In a normal April, Otto's treats about four termite infestations, but last month the company treated 12, Calvert said. Calls to exterminate brown recluse spiders have gone up to eight to 10 a month, from the usual five a month.

Calvert said the ants are driven inside by wet weather. 

Columbia sopped up just over 8 inches of rain from a corridor of abnormally heavy rainfall that stretched from Joplin to St. Louis. However, October to April was drier than normal for Missouri overall, according to the center.

New business contracts and weather-related infestations will help triple Otto's gross income, Calvert said.

“The warm weather has certainly helped anyone that’s in our business,” Calvert said.

Columbia has more than a dozen pest control services.

According to the National Weather Service, Missouri has a 33 percent to 40 percent chance of above-average temperatures continuing in May.

Supervising editor is Victoria Guida.

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