SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –- A warm winter and even warmer summer mean there are more spiders in the Ozarks than most years, and Missourians are noticing.
When it’s hot like this, humans go inside to get away from the heat. As it turns out, bugs do the same thing.
Whether they’re a harmless nuisance like bed bugs, or a serious health concern like brown recluses and black widows, Ivan Eftink, the owner of Bug Zero, says he’s seen it all.
“2017 has been just off the charts busy,” Eftink said. “We’ll get a lot more calls on the brown recluse in particular in late summer, but spiders in general in the summer, and on up until we get our first killing frost usually in the middle of October.”
As its name suggests, you probably won’t find brown recluses hanging out in the open. You’re more likely to find them in your attic, closet, or under your bed.
Eftink also sees some black widows in the Ozarks but says those are much less common. He says one of the best things to do is keep porch lights off, which attract bugs and are easy bait for spiders.
He also recommends buying a sticky strip to catch pests. He says that won’t control a problem, but it will give you a sample to determine if the bugs are dangerous and need to be professionally exterminated.
For Lindsay Hall, her husband and their two dogs, the problem hasn’t been spiders, but ticks.
“One time we were hiking and they were just blowing in the wind, which was crazy,” Hall said. “So each time we’ve probably collected at least 50 to 100 ticks off the four of us.”
Hall says, of all her years spent outdoors and on trails, this is by far the worst.
“They’re under their nail beds, in the pads of their paws, in their ears, collars, we had to burn one off our dog,” Hall said.
Experts also say it’s good to use bug spray on your home and your body. If all else fails, you can always hope for cooler weather.
“We’re originally from Michigan, so we always get like a frost that kills a lot of the bugs, you know, so it just seems like the seasons are longer down here,” Hall said.
Another thing experts recommend is checking the sealing around your doors and windows. Make sure there are no openings, even little ones. They say it’s a quick fix to re-seal doors and make sure you won’t be sharing the couch with any spiders.