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Global itching… fleas and flies obey call of the mild

A SURGE in flea and fly infestations has been blamed on climate change.

Calls to Rentokil about fleas invading homes shot up by 198 per cent in the first three months of this year, while enquiries about flies rose 120 per cent.

The pest control firm believes milder winters are causing the insects to emerge earlier to breed.

David Cross, head of the company’s technical training academy, said: ‘There’s been a sharp increase in the number of flea and fly enquiries out of season — they are coming out much earlier than we would usually expect.

‘Looking at the averages for the first quarter of the past five years, evidence suggests that our warmer climate is impacting insect breeding seasons, and it is likely to be the cause for increased calls to pest controllers.’

Some fly species use homes as dry places to hide out over the winter. And with this year’s February the warmest on record, with temperatures of up to 20.3C, they are likely to have emerged from hibernation earlier than usual. Mr Cross added: ‘Fleas typically live outside, and far fewer of the insects have been killed off by our recent mild winters.

‘With cats and dogs spending more time outside in the warmer weather, it’s likely increased numbers of these insects were brought into homes.’