Hurricane Irma passed through Palm Beach and Broward Counties causing flooding, high winds and electrical outages. Although these are certainly dangerous situations, one thing most people don’t think about is the danger of the increase in the population of pests that comes along with the storm.
During times of electrical outages, pest populations increase inside our homes partially because the air conditioning will not be on. Warm, humid air makes perfect conditions in which insects can breed. At the outset, gnats houseflies and fruit flies will begin to breed. The rising water inside the sewer system will drive cockroaches into our homes. Rodents and other wildlife will also be driven to higher ground. The standing bodies of water left by the hurricane will be prime breeding grounds for mosquitos. Although this is all very scary, there are some things that we can do to help keep the pest populations under control in and around our homes during this situation.
During the cleanup, rats will be displaced due to tree trimming and removal of debris. You may see some of them running around your yard. We recommend allowing a professional to install rodent bait boxes around the outside of your home to keep the populations under control.
Rats also live inside the sewers and along the edges of the canals. They are also driven out of their habitats due to the rising water. Rats may come up inside the toilet from the sewers and from vent stacks on the roof if they have not been screened. If rodents enter your home, it is important to hire a professional to come out and start trapping as soon as possible because a pregnant female rat can have 8 to 12 pups at one time. Not only that, rodents damage homes by chewing on electrical wires, air conditioning ducts, water pipes, and other important items.
For gnats, houseflies and fruit flies, keep the garbage inside the house to a minimum. Take the garbage out often and deposit it into a covered trash can. You can also use a little insecticide spray containing pyrethrin periodically inside the trash can to keep them under control if for some reason, you cannot get to your trashcan. The trick is to not let them multiply and spread throughout the house.
You may see large cockroaches inside the home during or after the hurricane. Smokybrown Cockroaches and American Roaches live in the sewers. As the sewers fill up with water the roaches will be driven up into our homes. If you have a pest control service, you do not need to worry because the residual spray inside the bathroom and kitchen will kill the roach within a few hours after it walks across the sprayed area. If you do not have a service you should call one. You do not want them to end up staying in your home as these types of roaches leave egg sacks inside the walls that may contain as many as 20 eggs per sack. Not only that cockroaches carry and spread diseases.
Raccoons, opossums, foxes, etc. will all be displaced and may been seen around our homes. As for them, give them a few days to leave the area. If they haven’t left within a few days after the storm, we recommend hiring a professional to set cages and trap them to have them removed.
As for the mosquitos, do not spray standing water with pesticides. It is illegal. Not only that, the residual spray left inside the water will kill birds, fish, frogs, etc. that may come along later and drink the water. What you can do is to try not to be outside when mosquitos are most active: during dawn and dusk. If you do need to go outside wear long sleeved clothing. Use repellents that contain deet (the higher the percentage of deet, the longer it lasts.) According to the University of Florida, use products containing 15% to 40% on adults and no more than 10% deet on children. Do not use on children under 2 months in age. You must reapply every 1 to 3 hours. If you are sweating, every hour.
Finally, if you see any bee colonies that are displaced, please call a professional. Some bees can be aggressive and they are dangerous. If the colony is easily accessible from the ground, call a beekeeper to come and remove the hive. We do not want to kill bees unless it is absolutely necessary because they pollinate our food crops. However, if the hive is endangering people or animals or in a hard to reach area, like inside a soffit or wall, call a pest control company to eliminate the hive.
The best way keep pest populations from increasing is by preventing them from coming inside in the first place. Make sure all windows and doors are screened. Seal up all holes and entry points.
Of course, you can always hire Hometown Pest Control to help you. We offer a free pest inspection. A Pest Control Technician will come out to inspect the structure, inside your attic and your roof. Call us at 866-278-8250.