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Recent Rain Brings Bugs

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ All the rain we've been getting has been a welcome relief this summer, but unfortunately, it's also helped lay out a nice welcome mat for tons of summer bugs.

Whether you live in town or in more rural parts of our area, chances are you've been inundated with grasshoppers. Many are feeling overrun by the pests and are finding out there's little that can be done to keep them away.

Comanche County Resident Beth Keaton has had enough. She's practically pulling her hair out trying to figure out what to do next about her grasshopper problem. I fielded her questions then went to a professional for some answers.

Keaton has lived here for four years. She's used to bugs, but she said this year it's been a little crazy.

"I came outside, and the grasshoppers were just attacking the kids and just flying everywhere," Keaton said.

She and her husband have sprayed and laid down pesticides. Her rose bushes are demolished and her kids can barely play outside.

"I don't know what to do about them," Keaton said. "I don't know if they're going to go on forever."

Matt Berberea works for a local pest control company. He said it's not in her imagination. There have definitely been more grasshoppers, and he said unfortunately, they might be here a while.

"I don't know that it'll go past the typical bug season, which is late September to early October, as the temperatures start to cool," Berberea said. "Really, as long as the humidity stays relatively high, we're going to continue to see more bugs."

Thanks to the drought over the past couple of years, grasshoppers and mosquitoes have not been as common. The recent rain has provided them with a perfect climate, though. Experts say it's not so much that we're getting more than usual; it's just maybe we're not used to getting very many at all.

"People have just gotten used to lower bug numbers and not having pests be as much of a problem," Berberea said. "This year, with us actually getting some rain early in the year and then throughout the year, we're just going to see an influx of really all bugs."

Berberea also said there's not much in terms of home remedies or store bought solutions to help get rid of or prevent grasshoppers or other moisture loving bugs. He said the best thing to do is to keep your leafy greens to a minimum and keep your lawns mowed. He said it's important to remember bugs just go with the territory in these parts. So, Berberea said just hunker down, and if you're really worried, call a professional.

"Southwest Oklahoma has bugs," Berberea said. "There's not really too much you can do about that. So, the best thing you want to do, if you're somebody who's worried about bugs or you're really concerned, is to remember professionals have different ways to take care of your lawns."

Along with the grasshoppers, many have complained about the grasshopper feces left behind. Berberea said not to worry; it's not poisonous due to the grasshoppers' organic diet. It just leaves a not so pleasant mess to clean up.

The moisture in the soil is also providing a perfect climate for things like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Berberea said they're getting a slower start but expect to see them on the rise in the coming month, as well as in the next couple of summers.

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