Atlantic hurricane season is officially in full swing. While most people are aware of the storm damage a hurricane can cause, many don’t realize that hurricanes and other severe storms can also trigger serious pest concerns that can lead to a need for pest control services.
If you live in an area that could experience a hurricane, be aware of these potential pest issues following a storm. Here’s what to watch for this hurricane season when it comes to pests.
Hurricane season increases mosquito activity
Hurricanes bring rain and localized flooding, as well as high winds. The sheer power of a storm can bring down vegetation, clog storm drains and gutters, and cause damage to relocated items. They leave behind large areas of standing water. These factors create the perfect breeding opportunity for mosquitoes, with some species – such as those that can carry Zika virus – only needing a tablespoon of water to breed.
To prevent mosquito bites and discourage mosquito activity following a storm:
- Always wear an EPA-approved insect repellent when working outside
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when working outside, keep as much of your skin covered as possible
- Eliminate as much standing water as possible to prevent mosquitoes from hatching
- Empty any containers that hold water
- Clean clogged gutters and drains as soon as possible.
Relocated pests due to hurricane flooding
Hurricanes may trigger flooding that can relocate some species of pests, causing areas that didn’t have pest problems before a storm to see them after. Rodents are excellent swimmers and can move with floodwaters. Some species of ants – such as fire ants – will actually form “rafts” and float until they reach dry land. So, don’t think that flooding will have wiped the area clean from pain, because the exact opposite might be true.
Increased pest pressures in waterlogged areas
Pests can be attracted to moisture, so for proper control and pest prevention following a hurricane, it’s important to remove or dry out saturated carpets quickly. In addition, it may be necessary to discard other items damaged by the floodwaters of hurricane season. Items such as books, photo albums, and some pieces of furniture cannot be thoroughly dried. Don’t bring pests inside your home accidentally by not removing these items.
Pests and structural damage
High winds, flying debris, and water can cause structural damage to buildings and homes. Repair any structural damage as soon as possible. Holes, gaps, roof damage, and weakened structures provide opportunities for both rodent and insect pests to enter. Remember, rodents can fit through openings as small as ¼-inch. Pests looking for a dry and warm place after a storm could invade your home through even the tiniest of holes left behind.
Remove debris in the aftermath of a hurricane
Debris left in the wake of a storm can make attractive harboring places for pests, bringing them closer to your home, which can then lead to them entering your home. Clear debris from your property as quickly as is safely possible following a storm.
Preventative pest control before the hurricane hits
Many of the problems pests cause in the wake of a hurricane are avoidable. Any cracks, crevices, or windows can be entry points for all kinds of critters. Water and powerful winds only increase the likelihood of a small problem becoming a big one. Furthermore, winds can cause old or dying trees to be uprooted. When trees fall, they create holes in your roof through which pests can enter. Beat the storm to the punch! Inspect your home or business, and fix any potential problems to make sure you’ll be in the clear following the storm. To ensure that you are adequately prepared for an impending storm, give Ehrlich a call. One of your local Ehrlich experts will come and inspect your property to make sure any opportunities for pest activity are eliminated.
Ehrlich is your partner in pest control. If you need assistance with a pest issue in the days leading up to or following a hurricane, please contact us online or call us at 888-984-0186 to let a representative know your home has been impacted by a storm. One of our highly trained and qualified pest control specialists will get out to your home quickly and consult with you about what we can do to help.
For more tips, visit Ehrlich’s Hurricane Recovery Tips page.