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'We need help, we need more bodies': Exterminators busy as flood cleanup continues across St. Louis area

Ants are the biggest problem right now because of the moisture that's still on the ground, which is why they are ending up in peoples' homes.

FENTON, Mo. — Much-needed help can't come soon enough for many across the St. Louis area.

On top of the cleanup still happening, homeowners are now facing another problem: bugs.

Exterminators told 5 On Your Side that ants are the biggest problem right now because of the moisture that's still on the ground.

The ants are ending up in people's homes because they are looking for the driest place to camp out.

Now that the water is out of neighborhoods, the bugs are coming in.

Utility trucks and unwanted household items are really all you see in one University City neighborhood. 

It's a neighborhood Jason Davis was born and raised in.

"I've never seen anything like this before and never been in anything like this," he said.

The historic flooding, almost two weeks ago now, left Davis speechless. 

He was trying to get out of his home when he saw his car completely submerged in water. 

That's when, Davis said, he figured the best escape plan for his family was to sit on top of the roof.

"I said, 'Forget it. Let's just go upstairs and pray for our lives.' That's where we were at," he said.

Now, Davis and his family are spending their days cleaning up. 

He described this part as the most heartbreaking of it all.

"Cleaning up your life afterwards, you know, stuff you're not really ready to get rid of and now you have to do it, you are forced to do it, but you know, what can you do?" Davis said.

One of the first things he did after he started that cleanup process was make sure bugs didn't set up camp in his house. 

Davis said he didn't want pests to be another problem he had to face.

"I bug bombed it, we are good. We have seen a few ants here and there, but we keep the doors and windows open anyways to get everything cleared out," he said.

While Davis is one of the lucky ones, Rick Isenmann said the phones at his pest control business, STL Pest Control, are ringing nonstop.

"It seems like there's a big uptick of several different kinds of bugs," he said.

While it's not a surprise to Isenmann with all the rain the area has had, he said the demand is hard to keep up with. 

According to Isenmann, his staff usually can get to calls in a day, and now the wait is two weeks long.

"We need help, we need more bodies," he said.

The most common bugs they are seeing right now are ants, mosquitos, crickets and even termites, according to Isenmann.

"Basically, if you're just around the dinner table and you start seeing ants, it's kind of obvious that you have a serious problem," he said.

Isenmann said to try to eliminate any standing water and debris.

He said that also includes weeds around your house. 

Most importantly though, Isenmann said, don't think you can do it all on your own.

"A lot of people try home remedies and that, but with this kind of rain, you almost need a professional," he said.

Another important tip, Isenmann said, even if you see a trail of ants and you kill those, it doesn't mean your problem is gone. 

He said a lot of times the ants are in a colony somewhere else, and you could have over 50,000 of them and not even know. 

That's why Isenmann's advice is to just leave it up to the professionals. 

He also added that they aren't just seeing these problems in basements, but even on second floors, because ants are coming from tall trees and getting on the roof and into the house.

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