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Insect Invasion Making S. Floridians’ Skin Crawl

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

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Healthy Living

DAVIE (CBS4) – The early start to the rainy season in South Florida has led to an insect invasion.

Tons of grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and ants are invading our backyards.

Parent Sandra Marshall says mosquitoes have been feasting daily on her two toddlers.

“They’re around all the time, it’s very annoying,” said Marshall. “Mosquitoes, big ones!”

Dr. Rudy Scheffrahn of the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Davie explained that the rainy season starting the beginning of May has meant a longer period of insect activity.

“Rain and warm weather promotes plant growth and most of these insects feed off of plants.  They’re cold-blooded so when it’s warm they develop more quickly and they have plenty of food, plenty of moisture so they take off,” said Scheffrahn.

What’s more our mild winter has brought an onslaught of reptiles, especially iguanas.

“There’s lots of humidity and warm weather which reptiles like.  The rain keeps them cool and there is lots of vegetation for them to eat as well,” said Staci Stafford of the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Science and Discovery.

The Museum is hosting the biggest, strangest and most colorful display of geckos, that most adaptable of lizards.

Geckos are generally harmless, said Katie Baum who is in charge of the gecko exhibit.

“Their instinct is to flee.  If you pick them up they may bite you, but if it does put some antibiotic ointment on your skin,” said Baum.

However iguanas can be a different story. They may attack your pets if they feel threatened.

“They have a powerful tail and can cause some damage,” said Staci Stafford. “They can use their teeth and their claws if they feel threatened, and will protect themselves like any other animal.”

If all these reptiles and insects are causing your skin to crawl, Dr. Scheffrahn said, ‘it will go away and be forgotten by winter.  Next year is a whole new start.”

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