Shhhh. Hear that noise? That's the sound of raccoons, squirrels and rats playing hide-and-squeak in the crawl spaces, attics and walls of homes across the Chattanooga area, fleeing frigid temperatures.

It's also the melody of young mosquitoes -- widely despised carriers of the West Nile virus -- perishing en masse as the region's deep freeze refrigerates this year's crop of embryonic bloodsuckers.

The cold weather is a mixed bag when it comes to pests. Some, like the southern pine beetle, freeze to death after a couple of days of ultralow temperatures. Others, such as the crafty raccoon, use the opportunity to find new homes.

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