Warm weather brings insects, spiders, reptiles out early

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Unusually warm temperatures in Arizona this winter have creepy-crawlers coming out of hibernation months earlier than usual.

“This could very well be kind of the mother lode of pest problems this year,” said Steve Greenhalgh of Arizona Pest Prevention.

As of Thursday, Sky Harbor Airport has seen 53 days this winter with afternoon high temperatures warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service Office in Phoenix. This is the second warmest winter on record.

“Be careful when you’re outside because a lot of the animals you think might be sleeping are active now,” said Paula Swanson with the Phoenix Zoo.

Swanson said bark scorpions, desert blonde scorpions, tarantulas, wasps, Gila monsters, rattlesnakes, king snakes and black widows are just some of the creatures that are coming out to mate and feast.

“They’re getting nice and fat in the winter instead of sleeping, so we’ll probably see more of them,” Swanson said.

Greenhalgh said the pest control business is booming.

“We’re seeing the scorpion calls rise in a significant way," he said. "Also, there’s been a lot of calls for just the common ants and the roaches and the things that we usually see later in the year.”

To prevent unwanted guests from entering your home, Greenhalgh advised to start spring cleaning now.

“Making sure the yard is cleaned up, and that there’s not a lot of harborage or hiding areas for insects and spiders,” Greenhalgh said.

He also suggests checking your lighting.

“Spiders often times are attracted at night to lights where there will be flying insects and things, so yellow light bulbs are better than clear or white light bulbs,” he explained.

If also else fails, Greenhalgh advises to contact a pest control company. Technicians will use pesticides and seal any openings where critters can enter.

If you don’t want to call a pest control service, Swanson suggests finding a container to scoop up any wayward critters found in your home, and then putting them outside.