Hurricane Recovery and Pests


SUBJECT: Hurricane Recovery and Pests

Does hurricane damage increase or decrease the likelihood of pest infestations in and around the home? The recent hurricanes in the Southeast have created prime conditions for pest infestation.  Not only have pests been displaced from their previous hiding places and are looking for a new home, they love the moist conditions the hurricanes created.

What types of pests can those recovering from the recent hurricane damage expect to see around their homes? Homeowners are seeing all kinds of pests in and around their home as they begin the clean up process.  We’ve received reports that pests like ants, rodents and mosquitoes are creating headaches for everyone in hurricane-damaged areas.  Termites are another pest that will thrive in the conditions created by the hurricane. The National Pest Management Association is predicting serious termite activity in and around Florida in the upcoming seasons.

Have the hurricanes done anything to hurt the efficacy of treatments already done in and around homes? Yes, using termites as an example, the flooding conditions created by the hurricanes could have jeopardized the success of any treatments completed prior to the rains as soils which have been treated may have been relocated away from the structures.  Once homeowners are settled back into a normal routine, they should contact their pest control professional for an evaluation.  They will be able to tell them if they need to consider re-treating their homes and what steps need to be taken to reduce the conducive conditions created by the hurricane.

What steps can homeowners take to make sure they aren’t living with unwelcome guests brought in by the hurricanes? As homeowners begin to clean up the outsides of their homes there are a couple key steps they should keep in mind to ensure they aren’t inviting pests into their homes:

  • Seal up any cracks and holes on the outside of your home including areas where utilities and pipes enter your home.
  • Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
  • Keep gutters and vents free of debris.
  • Keep tree branches, shrubbery, and ornamentals well trimmed and off of the house.
  • Keep wood debris, tree stumps, and leaf litter away from the house.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.