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Factoring in climate change, natural disasters, worldwide pandemics, pest behaviors, and information from our regional field managers across the country, we are pleased to present the much anticipated Ehrlich 2022 Pest Predictions.
Our hope is that you can use this information to take a proactive approach to your home, family, and pets from pests in the New Year.
The year of the 2020 pandemic—restaurants closed, schools closed, and cities closed to reduce risks of spreading COVID-19. All the while city rats survived without relying on people’s waste and garbage. But how?
Incredibly intelligent and resourceful creatures, they relocated to areas where there was plenty of food and less competition for it. Urban neighborhoods, where people were sheltering in place provided the rats with everything they needed to survive.
A year later, rat populations living in urban neighborhoods outside of New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and other metropolitan cities in the U.S. have established new burrows and are thriving. The rise of the rat will not slow down in 2022.
The majority of people have experienced the relentless itching that occurs as a result of a mosquito bite, thinking nothing of it. However, with mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile, chikungunya, and eastern equine encephalitis on the rise, the risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses should be taken more seriously, especially in 2022.
As a result of social distancing in 2020 and 2021, many people have traded in commuting for working at home, affording them more opportunities to own a pet and explore the great outdoors. This new way of living not only increases health risks for people, but it also increases the risk of heartworm for pets.
Next spring, we’re expecting to see more mosquitoes earlier in the season due to milder winters. An earlier mosquito season allows mosquitoes to breed longer, increasing their overall populations. Warmer winters may also allow different species of mosquitoes to migrate to new areas. Taking proactive steps, such as arranging for mosquito service at the first sign of activity, can significantly reduce health risks associated with mosquitoes.
Ticks are especially dangerous to people and animals because of their small size and ability to go undetected for days. Factoring in the pandemic shift – more people spending time outdoors and more people owning pets – reports of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Alpha-gal syndrome, will continue to rise.
Similar to mosquitoes, tick populations continue to flourish as warmer winters allow for more reproduction cycles and extended activity late into fall.
High travel seasons (holidays, spring breaks, summer vacations) have prompted spikes in bed bug activity for years. The more people that are out and about, traveling via car, bus, plane, train, or boat; the more opportunities bed bugs have to feed, reproduce, and spread. You might think bed bug populations would have died off with travel restrictions in place in 2020 and 2021.
We wish that was true. However, adult bed bugs are hardy and have the ability to survive without feeding for months. Therefore, temporary travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders did not have a significant impact on bed bug populations, they’re still out there—hungry and waiting for their next host.
Expect 2022 to be bustling with bed bug activity. As the travel season resumes, bed bug populations will come alive. And some pandemic-era trends may help them thrive. Hospitality industries adopting reduced cleaning protocols or experiencing labor shortages will unintentionally contribute to the increase as bed bugs are left to reproduce, undetected. Less opportunity to inspect rooms daily can lead to bed bug infestations.
Anyone traveling can avoid bringing bed bugs home by thoroughly inspecting their baggage and personal belongings before they check out. If you think you have bed bugs at home, don’t try to solve the problem yourself. These resilient pests are difficult to eliminate without the help of a professional.
Termites are migrating to new areas. What’s driving the termite expansion? Heavy rains and climate change. These environmental factors are also responsible for prolonging the termite season, resulting in more time to eat away buildings and structures.
Termites can be introduced to a new area at any time and can be active for a long time without showing any signs. One way to know if termites may be in your area is to stay in close touch with your neighbors. If someone nearby is experiencing a termite problem, you could have one, too.
Being proactive by implementing an annual termite inspection for your home or business, before the 2022 termite season begins, will ensure your investment is protected for years to come.
Although these pests did not make our Top 5 list, they are still worth mentioning because of the problems they can cause for home and business owners.
Discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, this invasive pest continues to migrate regardless of efforts to slow its spread. In a span of just 7 years, the spotted lanternfly made its way into 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia – despite its inability to fly long distances. And continues to threaten others with recent warnings being issued to North Carolina to be on the lookout.
Spotted lanternflies rely on hitching a ride as their primary means of transportation. Responsible for destroying more than 70 different plant species, including many agricultural crops, the spotted lanternfly is a beauty in disguise. Campaigns encouraging residents to kill it on sight by “stomping on it” or “crushing it” are no joke.
As travel picks up in 2022, be on the lookout for the spotted lanternfly. If you’re experiencing issues with spotted lanternflies around your property, we can help.
The majority of ant colonies live underground and thrive in warmer climates. Milder winters provide populations with the resources needed to grow larger and spread out into new areas. Because of this, homeowners can expect to see an increase in ant activity in 2022, some of which may include species of ants that have relocated.
In the coming year, cities may see an uptick in fly activity. The cause: trash, warmer winters, and more rainfall.
In addition to being a huge nuisance, flies are known for carrying food-borne diseases, which is why any increase in fly activity warrants immediate action. Not only do flies transmit disease by landing on food and surfaces, but a large presence of flies can also indicate a secondary problem, such as a decomposing animal in a wall, attic, or garage. Avoid health risks associated with these pests by contacting a local pest control expert.
Enjoy pest-free living all year long. It’s as easy as a phone call. Don’t wait until a pest problem results in costly home repairs, or you or someone in your family becomes sick from a pest-borne illness. Start 2022 off strong with a preventative pest control plan that’ll provide you with peace of mind all year long.