LOS ANGELES—Pest control companies in southern California are reporting 2014 as one of the busiest seasons in years, and they say it’s because of the weather.
“It’s so dry, it’s actually pushing the insects in even more than normal,” said John Cordell, owner of Daddy’s Pest Control in Torrance, California, just 30 minutes south of Los Angeles. He started his own company in 2010, but he has been in the industry for about 18 years. Cordell said this year business increased 50 to 75 percent.
The reason is, pests like mice, ants, spiders, rats and cockroaches need the same things that humans do to survive: food, water, and shelter.
The hot weather and drought have reduced natural sources of these necessities, forcing them closer to cities, and often into homes.
Mosquitoes, which love hot weather, have also been more of a problem this year. Their ideal breading conditions are stagnant water, such as rainwater collection containers, which have proliferated during the drought, and dried-up rivers.
This is yet another reason southern Californians can use rain.
“Once it rains, it will knock the problems down,” said Cordell.
Los Angeles may be suffering from a-higher-than-normal amount of pests, but it was already a “pesty” city.
On Monday, pest control company Orkin, with over 400 branches in the U.S., released a report ranking the most rat-infested cities in the country. Chicago was number one, Los Angeles number two, Washington, D.C. number three, and New York number four.
In 2012, Orkin also ranked L.A. as number two on the list the most over all pest-infested cities, and number one for termite and cockroach problems.
Chicago was the winner for the most ants, bed bugs, rodents and spiders; Atlanta for the most mosquitoes; and Washington, D.C. for the most ticks, according to Orkin’s data.
To prevent pests, experts recommend keeping your house clean inside and out, sealing any cracks and holes, and keeping all food and garbage in sealed containers.