All types of pest problems reach their peak during late summer and early fall, from an exploding mosquito population or insects eating your lawn. Unfortunately, this coincides with the most active part of the hurricane season. When severe tropical weather comes our way, the aftermath can leave us with a “perfect storm” of pest issues. Here’s what to know about the effects of severe weather or hurricanes on pest problems and what you can do both before and after a storm.
Inspect your home and property.
Take a few simple steps to keep from giving pests ideal places to set up housekeeping during or after the storm:
- Check your home for any structural problems that could be made worse by heavy rain and high winds, such as existing water damage, and repair it if you can.
- Also check how rainwater flows around your foundation (it should flow away from it) and make sure gutters are clear.
- If you have outdoor cans filled with garbage that won’t be picked up before the storm arrives, make sure it is tightly sealed and secured a good distance away from your house.
- Get rid of piles of wood or debris that are close to your home’s foundation or move them to another spot on your property.
Drain standing water.
When you’re expecting several inches of rain, it may seem futile to get rid of the standing water that mosquitoes breed in, but you can turn over containers that may hold water, get rid of water-collecting debris, and bring other items into your garage. After the storm, locate and drain all sources of standing water, such as flowerpots and their saucers, buckets, children’s outdoor toys, bird baths and even covers on grills that can hold water in their folds. Also be sure to check your gutters again. Remember—mosquitoes need just a half an inch of water in which to breed, so you’ll need to do a close inspection. As you do your inspection, make sure to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeves and pants and using an appropriate insect repellent.
Get rid of kitchen garbage.
If food spoils due to a prolonged power outage, you’ll want to ensure that food you throw out is picked up by your waste service provider as soon as possible. Roaches, flies, rats, mice and other pests will take advantage of any bit of spoiled food they can get to. If waste can’t be picked up promptly, put discarded food in tightly sealed bags and then into sealed garbage cans. Store the cans well away from your house if possible.
Check for water damage and damp debris.
If you weren’t able to inspect your home for existing water damage prior to the storm, make sure to do it afterwards. Rotting wood may invite termites into your home, and once they’re in, they’ll start doing damage right away. Excessive rain can also cause debris to begin to rot, which will attract additional pests. Even soil that’s very wet can cause a problem as pests that normally live mostly underground (such as ants) will move to higher ground.
Watch for displaced pests and wildlife.
Just like humans, all types of animals may seek higher or dry ground before, during or after a storm. These include snakes, rats and mice, which may come into your garage, attic, crawlspace or even inside your living space for shelter. Prior to a tropical storm or hurricane, check your home for entry points that wildlife may use to gain access, such as openings in your eaves or vents. Seal up holes, cracks and crevices and check them again after the storm as you look for any new damage that may provide a way in. Keep in mind that many types of rodents need only one quarter of an inch to get inside your home, and that mice can easily swim to higher ground (which may be your house!). Also be sure to check to see if weatherstripping and screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
Call in the pros.
The best way to protect your home and family from the pest problems that storms can bring is professional pest control. At Turner Pest Control, we offer all of the services you may need, including rodent control, mosquito control, termite control, lawn and outdoor services, and more.
Get in touch with us for a free inspection and estimate on the services that keep you pest free both before and after the storm!