THE mild winter weather is leading to a bumper year for insects in East Lancashire, experts have warned.

Temperatures rarely dropped below freezing across the region during what was one of the warmest winters on record.

Insects such as midges are now taking advantage with a big surge in their numbers across the area.

Rob Simpson, of pest controllers Basis Prompt, said this warmer weather would have an ‘inevitable impact’ on the pest population for the rest of the year.

He said: “The numbers of many insects in the UK are naturally diminished by cold winters, but the weather has been very different this year.

“Temperatures all over the country have been much warmer than normal and that could lead to a significant increase in the pest population.

“Many will have come out of hibernation early to seek food and begin the reproduction process.

“Flies, fleas, ants and wasps that would usually remain dormant for much longer will become active sooner, leading to more prolific breeding trends and therefore a larger population.

“We’ll only know for sure later in the year, but it could be that we’re facing a summer of bugs.”

The Lancashire Telegraph’s health expert, Dr Tom Smith, said: “Insects in the UK don’t carry harmful diseases like malaria but they are pests, especially in large numbers.

“There could be a problem with Scottish or Yorkshire Midges in the Lancashire hills that normally freeze to death during harsh winters.

“They are the real problem because they hurt.

“People who are allergic to bee and wasp stings should make sure that they have their epipen with them and to consult a doctor.

“There should not be a great health risk because of the large number of insects around but people should make sure that they got proper medical advice if they think they need it.”