December 30, 2016 (Charlotte, NC) - It might make your skin crawl thinking about it, but leading commercial pest prevention provider Inspectra says businesses should get ready to battle pests in 2016. As we head into the new year, topsy-turvy weather patterns, biting insects, and emerging species are all things to be on the watch out for when it comes to pests, say Inspectra experts. Here are 5 pest trends that Inspectra believes could make headlines in 2016.

1. El Niño Will Impact Pest Activity

There’s no doubt that extreme moisture and temperature fluctuations brought on by the weather pattern El Niño will impact pest activity, says Judy Black, Board Certified Entomologist and Vice President of Technical Services at Inspectra .

“Pests are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions, and El Nino could wreak havoc with pests biological and geographical activity,” Black explains. “Warmer than normal temperatures in areas that experience cold could mean extended seasons of pest activity; pests may have extra life cycles due to a lengthened warm season or may not experience a die-off due to cold weather.”

Black continues, “In addition to increased pest activity outside, heavy rains and flooding could lead to higher-than-usual pest pressures inside structures as insects and rodents look to escape excess moisture. Structures themselves may also experience damage, which could lead to increased pest activity.”

To assist businesses in dealing with the increasing concern of weather-influenced pest activity, Inspectra has written a brief that outlines a 5-step plan for consideration in developing an integrated pest management strategy. It is available for download here.

2. Mosquitoes Will Keep Us Itching

2015 was a very wet year in the U.S. Record rainfall was recorded across many parts of the U.S. over the course of the year, resulting in flooding in the Pacific Northwest; in the south Central U.S. in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas; and in the Southeast in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and parts of Florida. All that moisture could lead to potential mosquito issues in 2016.

In addition to that annoying mosquito-itch, mosquitoes bring with them the risk of disease spread. West Nile virus case numbers have been relatively low over the past several years, but cases were still being reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control into December – and that’s an unusually long season. The past few years have also seen mosquito-borne diseases once previously isolated to the tropics moving into the mainland. Expect to hear about more cases of dengue fever and chikingunya in the U.S., says Black.

3. Fruit Flies Move to the Dark Side

For restaurants and other foodservice establishments, there’s no pest that’s quite as much of a nuisance as the fruit fly. When it comes to resolving fruit fly issues, operators must get to the source of the problem – and Inspectra ’s seeing a trend that could help operators with that solution.

“More and more, we’re finding that the dark-eyed fruit fly, and not the red-eyed fruit fly, is taking prevalence in restaurants. This is an important distinction for commercial kitchen managers because it may help with elimination and prevention strategies,” Black explains. “Where red-eyed fruit flies prefer to breed in decaying produce and fruits, dark-eyed fruit flies will more often exploit the decaying organic matter that can build up inside drains, specifically in drains that serve soda and beer lines.”

4. The Turkestan Cockroach Spreads Its Territory

Over the last several years, there has been a different species of large cockroach ousting traditional American and Oriental cockroaches in the Southwestern United States – and Black believes that this species may soon become commonplace in other areas of the U.S. The Turkestan cockroach has been present in the U.S. since the late 1970s, so it’s not a new species, but it is gradually expanding its territory.

Proper identification is critical in eliminating this pest. If not properly identified, businesses could go on an expensive wild goose chase treating the wrong areas to solve a problem. Turkestan cockroaches commonly invade from the exterior and tend to not breed indoors; for this reason, they are considered a member of a group of pests called occasional invaders. This species is more caramel colored than its darker, mahogany-colored cousins, the American and Oriental cockroaches, but similar in size.

Turkestan cockroaches can be introduced to an environment through landscaping materials. Alert your pest management company prior to a delivery of new mulch or other protective landscaping cover. This will give your pest management company an opportunity to make a proactive treatment to prevent any Turkestan cockroaches from sneaking into your facility.

5. Bed Bugs Become Increasing Concern in New Locations, Especially Office Spaces A quick Google news search reveals just how far and wide the bed bug problem has spread in North America. From movie theatres to libraries, elementary schools to retail stores, fire stations to public transportation, it seems like there’s nowhere that these biting nocturnal pests won’t venture. For those reasons, Black predicts that bed bugs will continue to make headlines in 2016.

In particular, Inspectra has seen an increasing occurrence of bed bugs in shared office environments, such as in cubicle-heavy spaces and open office plans. In most cases, Black says, there’s no active infestation, but one or two live pests have been introduced to the space from an outside source. This means that to minimize the likelihood of a full-blown infestation from developing, employers should consider proactive action. This could include periodic canine inspections, which are quick and non-invasive or proactive treatments from a professional pest management company. Further, it may behoove employers to begin educating office workers on how bed bugs can be transported from a home environment into a work space, what bed bugs look like, and the protocol for reporting pest sightings.

The Inspectra Group, Inc. provides specialized brand protection services for the hospitality, retail, food processing, and healthcare industries. The premier provider of food safety, quality assurance, and pest prevention services, Inspectra is a trusted partner to many of the world’s leading brands. Founded in 1986, Inspectra is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina; in 2015, the company became a member of the Rentokil family of companies. For more information on Inspectra , please visit www.Inspectra .com or call 800.868.0089.