TRIAD, NC -- From bitter cold temperatures last week, to spring like weather this week, and now back to cold again – the weather in the Triad has been a rollercoaster ride as of late.
The ups and downs in temperatures bring about two problems that nobody wants to talk about -- higher energy bills and stink bugs!
Last Friday during the bitter cold snap, Duke Energy Carolinas customers set a new all-time record for energy usage.
Jimmy Flythe with Duke Energy says that means a bigger bill will be waiting for a lot of people.
“The one thing for sure, your power and heating bill is going to be probably significantly higher than it was at this time last year because we had a much milder winter last year,” said Flythe.
When freezing temperatures return this week, Duke Energy says there are a few things you can do to save money on your energy bill.
1). Change your air filters so your system doesn't have to work as hard.
2). Leave your drapes or blinds up during the day so the sun can help warm the house and close them at night to insulate your home.
3). Remember to keep your thermostat on a steady level even when you leave the house.
“At night time, turn your thermostat down a couple notches while you're sleeping and then just turn it a little bit up in the morning,” said Flythe. “But if you do it really drastic changes, the system is going to have to work that much harder to get the house back to that level that you are comfortable in."
The fluctuating temperatures bring another stinky problem to people in the Triad.
Frank Fowler with McNeely Pest Control says they’ve been getting a lot of calls about stink bugs in people’s homes.
He says the stink bug problem actually begins in the fall.
When temperatures drop, stink bugs stay warm by sneaking inside your home.
Once they get in, Fowler says they stay dormant until spring to avoid predators and stay warm.
But the problem is, on a sunny winter day, their hiding spots warm up and they come out thinking it's spring.
"They are very confused at that point. They don't know if it's spring. Do I need to move somewhere different because it's going to get cold again? Do I need to find a place to get out,” said Fowler. “Many times, they inadvertently get down into the living area of our house where we don't want them."
Pest control experts say you should check around the windows on the side of your house that sits in the sun.
If you catch a stink bug, let it go outside.
Fowler says you should not squash a stink bug because it will stink up your house and that odor could attract other bugs.
"Safety in numbers,” said Fowler. “Congregating within the attic together under insulation so that the chances of them surviving a really cold winter would be better together than separate."
Fowler added that homeowners should look for cracks or crevices in the sides of your house and make sure to keep those sealed to keep the bugs out.
Stink bugs don't bite but avoiding the stinky smell they bring is well worth the effort.
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