Kiwis should expect an almost 'biblical plague' of insects as weather clears, experts warn

Kiwis across the country have noticed more and more flies buzzing around their food and kitchens - but with the weather clearing it's about to get a whole lot worse. 

"Once the heat comes back and the insects become more active in their higher numbers because they've had a chance to breed [in the humid conditions], we're going to get, not quite a biblical proportion plague, but we're going to get a very noticeable increase in flies and other insects", said Owen Stobart, an entomologist and operator of Aces Pest Control.

This prediction is supported by the vice-president of the Pest Management Association of New Zealand (PMANZ), Dr Paul Craddock, who expected to see "a huge surge in numbers" over the next week or so.

"So that's flies, mosquitoes, and other fast-breeding insects like that."

Another hazard to be wary of is the various diseases that flies can carry. 

Craddock said diseases like campylobacter and salmonella are "a very real risk".

"You're dealing with flies that are outside and buzzing around the dog faeces in the backyard and it's a short hop from there inside or even onto your deck or your BBQ."

Stobart, who also wrote a more in depth blog on the topic, said, "you've got to try and reduce your exposure to flies to try and reduce the risk of getting sick".

While flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches are plenty gross, Kiwis should also be on the lookout for an increased spider presence. 

"Remember that they don't just eat flies, they eat other stuff. All spiders will eat cockroaches, earwigs, whatever falls into their web they'll eat," Stobart said.

Stobart and Craddock shared some of their top tips for keeping insects out of your living and eating areas. 

They both emphasised the importance of hygiene, with a particular focus on reducing food smells as a means of decreasing the attractiveness of your home to these bugs. 

Another easy fix is to create airflow through your home. 

Craddock noted that "flies don't like moving air. If you've got fans, ceiling fans, pedestal fans, just pushing air around, that discourages them from being there".

They both also recommend tidying up your section, whether that's picking up dog poo on the lawn, moving wood stacks away from the house, or making sure your compost heap is healthy.

Their tips are worth observing, as Craddock sees the bug barrage lasting awhile.

"We're looking towards probably autumn when things cool off. We're talking April, May before the insect numbers will really begin to drop away."

If things get bad enough, Stobart recommended you put screens across doors and windows, which is common in Australia.

And if the problem gets bad enough, you should call in a professional pest controller.

Craddock recommended people get a PMANZ member as part of their quality assurance program.

"The typical treatment would be spraying surfaces with an insecticide, which then dries, and when the flies land on that surface they die."