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 THE unusually warm weather is having an affect on the UK.

The Daily Mirror tells us that it has led to an increase in household flea infestations.

Pest control company Rentokil says that has been 52 per cent rise in call-outs over the winter.

Figures issued by the Met Office show that the average UK temperature has been 5.6C, well above the long-term norm of 3.7C, making it the third warmest winter in records going back to 1910.

And it has also been the second wettest winter on record with average total rainfall across the country at 20.2 inches,. second only to the record wet winter of 2013/2014, which saw widespread storms and flooding.

Rentokil pest expert David Cross said fleas thrive in warm, humid environments, which offer ideal breeding conditions and mean that fewer have been killed off.

Dr Ed Turner, of the University of Cambridge 's Department of Zoology, added: “This is the kind of thing you would expect when temperatures are higher. Things like fleas do tend to like higher temperatures for breeding. If conditions are warm, the eggs will hatch more rapidly and the insects will reach adulthood more quickly.”

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And the Daily Express warns that the warm climate could mean that the wholesale prices of onions could rise by up to 60 per cent this spring.

Onion production last year and in 2016 is forecast to be down nearly 10 per cent to 5.4 million tonnes, said analysts Mintec.

Europe’s biggest suppliers in Spain and Holland suffered a hot, dry summer and problems have been compounded by wet weather during the UK growing season, which delayed farmers harvesting crops.

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The box tree caterpillar has been named as the UK's no 1 pest by the Royal Horticultural Society.

According to the BBC, the caterpillar is native to Asia and feeds on box plants, commonly used in formal gardens for hedges and shrubbery. Slugs and snails were second in the list of the top 10 pests.

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The Guardian tells us that the last surviving play script handwritten by William Shakespeare will be made available online by the British Library.

The Book of Sir Thomas More script has a very topical feel to it because Shakespeare imagines Sir Thomas More making an impassioned plea for the humane treatment of refugees.

“It is a really stirring piece of rhetoric,” said the library’s curator, Zoe Wilcox. “At its heart it is really about empathy. More is calling on the crowds to empathise with the immigrants or strangers as they are called in the text.”

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Road-running grandfather Ray Matthews is saluted by the Daily Express.

He is aiming to celebrate his 75th birthday by completing 75 marathons in 75 days to raise £75,000 for a school for disabled children in Rotherham.

It seems that Britain's tallest mountain is bigger than everyone thought!

A BBC story reports that when the Ordnance Survey re-measured the Scottish peak of Ben Nevis they found it was 1,345m – a metre taller than when it was last officially measured in 1949.

Modern technologies such as GPS mean that measurements are much more accurate.

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It's going to cost more to get divorced, says The Guardian.

This is because the Ministry of Justice has raised its fees by 34 per cent from £410 to £550 and every divorce petition has to go through the courts.

 

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)