Drought driving annoying insect infestations

(CBS News) If you think the drought is bad for just the farmers: Think again.

Gazillions of crawling critters are seeking shelter from the hot and dry conditions in yards and even houses.

In Iowa, Mike O'Toole, of AAA Pest Control, is a busy bee. "The insects are being driven inside because they're looking for coolness, dampness -- some place to get out of the sun and out of the heat," he explains.

Oklahoma has a particularly creepy problem. "The heat will incubate the eggs and they will lay eggs and produce hundreds," says insect expert Mark Lasater. And he's not talking about chickens.

In California, voracious grasshoppers are dining on shrubs and driving homeowners nuts. "They're everywhere. I mean they're just everywhere," says homeowner Mark Granko.

There are ticks in Missouri and crickets in Texas, spurred on by the hot and dry conditions that have pushed insect reproductive timetables up.

The onslaught of bugs is great for the predators who live off them. Along with other rodents, bats in Texas are digesting the delectables and they, in turn, are being consumed by snakes.

Copperheads in Arkansas are moving into home gardens, where the pickings are prime.

Bites are predictably on the upswing this year. "The snakes are out, and the people are out, and they're gonna come into contact," notes Dr. Steve Beaupre, a professor at the University of Arkansas.

All of this because of the bonanza of bugs.

But for some, the fun's over.

Consider the mayflies in Minnesota: Their parched carcasses now litter the sidewalks -- in some cases, quite deeply - knee-deep, even.

It sounds almost sweet, to be knee-deep in mayflies. Unless you really are knee-deep in mayflies.

To see the Dean Reynolds report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

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