In the wake of a hurricane, there are plenty of things to worry about. The damage left behind, including flooding, compromised structures, and scattered debris, present significant safety hazards and the risk of pest infestations. In cleanup and recovery efforts, utilize the following tips to manage post-hurricane pest problems and keep you and your family safe.
Fire ants can float in “rafts” on flood waters. Do not attempt to treat ants in flood waters with pesticides. This will only contaminate flood waters.
Mosquito activity can increase significantly in the days and weeks after a hurricane, due to the presence of standing water. Mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus and Zika virus, among other harmful diseases.
If you are outdoors or working in indoor areas that have lost screens and doors, wear insect repellent. Apply repellent to both exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as necessary.
General pest-related sanitation and structural tips
Repair or replace screens that were damaged or blown away to keep insects out during clean up.
Remove and discard saturated carpets.
Structural damage, especially from moisture, can allow pests to enter and attack homes or businesses. Repair structural damage such as holes, gaps, or weakened wood as soon as possible.
Remove standing water.
Downed trees, branches, and other organic debris (leaf piles, etc.) in exterior areas can create a harborage, nesting, or breeding ground for pests. Remove debris if possible.
Relocate trash and other debris to a distance from structures, as they can attract pests and wildlife.
Moisture problems can be a significant issue after hurricanes. Excess moisture can attract pests, create air quality issues, and cause mold growth. Have a moisture inspection done or speak with a mold remediation expert.
Clogged gutters can create pest harborage and contribute to moisture issues. Remove debris from gutters to be sure water can flow freely through them.
Clear debris from storm drains to allow water to flow freely.
Home food safety and cleanup
All food contact surfaces must be disinfected before use.