Hurricane Aftermath Brings Unwanted Pests

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Be proactive against pest invasions after floods to reduce risk of infestations, diseases and potential health issues.

Mosquitoes
If history is any indication, there will be several concerns regarding the increase in population of mosquitoes following Hurricane Harvey. Hurricanes bring rain and localized flooding and leave behind large areas of standing water (clog gutters and storm drains), the perfect breeding environment for mosquitoes to lay their eggs (only needing a tablespoon of water to breed). These breeding areas spawn a new generation of blood sucking irritating biters, thus increasing the exposure of arboviruses, such as Dengue, Zika, and West Nile.

Tips to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito activity following a storm:

  • Empty any containers that hold water
  • Use 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
  • Clean clogged gutters and drains as soon as possible, eliminate as much standing water as possible to prevent mosquitoes from hatching

Pests can be relocated as a result of flooding.

Rodents
Rodents are excellent swimmers. Flooding forces rats and mice to vacate their hiding places (sewers) and hunt for dry shelter. Mice and Rats are experts at survival and will squeeze or chew their way into wherever they can find dry secluded areas.

Fire Ants
Texas residents dealing with flooding now need to worry about running into piles of stinging insects. Residents of the Houston area affected by Hurricane Harvey may have noticed an unusual red raft in the floodwaters. Colonies of fire ants will join together to form a floating raft. Some of these rafts may have more than 100,000 stinging ants. Whenever a major storm brings flooding, these ant rafts appear to escape floodwaters. Theses venomous insects quickly link together, with the queen and larvae at the center of the raft. The ants mesh themselves together tightly enough to trap air in the middle, with the ants on the bottom knitted so tightly that water can’t get through. Fire ants can survive in these structures for weeks or even longer, though they’re constantly seeking new dry land to colonize as they float.

While an isolated sting is painful, it’s usually only serious for people with an allergy. But a whole colony can pack a punch.

Flies
Decay, rotting perishable food items, garbage, dead animals, backed up sewage and bad odors will attract large amounts of blow and fruit flies seeking to deposit their eggs on the filth and waste.

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