Slow Spring Start Slows Bug Business For Some

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

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By Forrest Saunders

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Jaime Phelps is an exterminator at Plunkett's Pest Control. He says last winter's mild weather meant last summer was big for bugs.

"They didn't die off like they typically do in the winter time. They just stayed strong," said Phelps.

All types of them.

"The ground beetles. Millipedes. Ants, was another big one last year," said Phelps.

Fast forward to a wet and rather cold spring, things have changed for this assassin of insects.

"Yeah. It's a complete 100 percent turn around," said Phelps.

Iowa State Entomologists said it's because a lot of bug types are still dormant. Officials said they're waiting for warmer weather to pop out.

"Yeah, everything has really quieted down. The cold snap does that," said Phelps.

Some bugs didn’t get the memo, though. Exterminators said the boxelder bug is running rampant in Cedar Rapids, especially in the last few days.

"Now that it's finally got somewhat warm, I'm seeing hundreds to sometimes thousands of them outside or around a house,” said Jason Campbell, an exterminator with Springer Professional Home Services.

Campbell said not to worry. The boxelder may make you say “blah,” but it's harmless. They’re here, Campbell said, only because of last summer’s swelter.

"We attribute most of that to how hot and dry it was last season," said Campbell.

Here's the bad news. Once warmer weather shows up and is added to the recent rains, both Phelps and Campbell agree insects will be everywhere.

"Everything will come out strong. Flies will be there. Everything will be there. Everything at once," said Phelps.

"Oh we'll be busy. Yeah. I think we'll be very busy. I think it will be a really good summer," said Campbell.

Exterminators said Cedar Rapids has real big problem with one type of bug year round. Bedbugs. A recent report by Orkin ranks the Cedar Rapids/Waterloo area 33rd most treated for bedbugs in the nation.

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