Experts warn of influx of pests and insects across Valley after wet winter

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Expect to see more mosquitoes, spiders and many other insects this season. Pest control experts say with taller grass, ticks could be a big concern this year.

A wet winter means a busy spring for pest control companies, and bugs of all kinds are crawling out now that the weather has warmed up.

"A lot of spiders, a lot of ants, and wasps seem to be pretty strong this year," Steve Crites with Bob's Pest Control in Merced said.

Crites says after an extremely wet start to the year, the Valley can expect a lot of bugs this year - including ticks. He says ticks like to sit at the top of tall grass and then latch onto a host that passes by.

"There is going to be more of that this year because, basically, the grasses are much taller," he explained.

Doctors at Golden Valley Medical Center say they're already seeing people come in with severe mosquito and insect bites. They haven't seen any tick bites yet, but they expect to soon.

"The season for tick bites is pretty soon upon us," Dr. Diksha Malik said. "I think we're going to see more tick bites down along the road because people are going to be spending more time outdoors."

Malik says some infected ticks can transmit Lyme disease, and she says it's more common to see Lyme disease instances in the northeastern United States but it's been reported in California before.

She says to remove a tick as soon as possible, but if you've been exposed to the tick for several days, keep an eye out for symptoms like fever, chills, and rashes.

"You get a characteristic rash," Malik explained. "It's a red circle with a clear center. It's called a target rash."

She also recommends checking your pets for ticks. Dr. William Bell at the Santa Fe Pet Hospital says they're seeing more fleas than ticks this season, but he says there are treatments you can buy from your vet that protect your pet from both.

"Some of the products you get over the counter at the stores doesn't work or can make your animals sick," he said.

Doctors say if you do go outside, especially somewhere in the foothills, stay protected by wearing long pants and keeping your insect repellent close.
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