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Hurricane Winds Blow Pests Right Into Your Home

October 16, 2016


tornado forming in ocean

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, it is important that we know about some of the pest problems that often accompany hurricanes.  In this article, I will tell you about pest problems to be aware of and why hurricanes cause them; followed by some ways you can prevent these problems before a hurricane and then how to deal with them afterwards.

Pests To Be Aware Of

Before, during, and after a hurricane homeowners should be on the look out for wasps, small rodents, cockroaches, snakes, and mosquitoes.  Before Hurricane Matthew hit, Nozzle Nolen received a lot of calls from people who couldn’t put up their shutters because of wasp nests in the shutter-tracks.  Wasps are dangerous because of their venomous sting, which can be painful and even fatal to people who are allergic, so homeowners should be wary if they come across a nest.  The heavy rainfall and strong winds of a hurricane will prompt many pests to seek a safe harbor from the storm and your home is the perfect place to do just that.  Small rodents and cockroaches are notorious for using people’s houses for shelter during storms.  Hurricanes will leave behind piles of debris all over your yard which can become a big pest problem because the debris piles make the perfect hiding spots for snakes.  Homeowners should be very careful when close to any such piles because South Florida is home to quite a few venomous snakes such as cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and pit vipers.  Lastly, the heavy rainfall will leave behind a lot of standing water, which becomes a breeding ground for various species of mosquito including the Zika-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.


Prepare and Prevent Beforehand

First things first, during hurricane season, there are certain supplies that are helpful for handling the pest problems that accompany hurricanes: pesticide spray (specifically those made to kill stinging bugs), goggles, any kind of long pole (many common gardening tools, like rakes, will work), and, most importantly, insect repellent with either Picaridin or DEET.  Homeowners should consider stocking up on all of these products so that they are readily available in case of a hurricane.

When you hear that a hurricane is headed in your direction your biggest concern will probably be putting up your shutters, and if you encounter a wasp nest in the shutter-track while doing this then knowing how to deal with it may come in handy.  Your safest option is to have an exterminator remove the nests for you; unfortunately, some people don’t have time to put up their shutters until right before the storm hits and the unsafe weather conditions might prevent your exterminator from being able to help.  For a temporary solution, homeowners can use an over-the-counter pesticide spray to eliminate the wasps that are in their way. The safest way to do this is to start by covering yourself with clothes, like jeans and jackets and goggles, then from a distance spray the nest, and once all the wasps are dead finish the task by using a long stick or pole to knock the nest down.  

If you are concerned about rodents and cockroaches, prevention is your best bet.  Experts in extermination recommend implementing exclusionary methods before the storm hits to most effectively steer clear of any future hurricane-related pest problems.  Specifically, stop pests entering your home by sealing all windows with screens and keeping all doors and garages closed before and during the hurricane, only opening them when necessary.

When it comes to snakes and hurricane debris that they may hide in, the best thing that you can do is prevent build up by removing any debris that is in your yard prior to the storm.  This includes tree trimmings, fallen leaves or palm fronds, stacks of firewood, etc.  

Approach with Caution Afterwards

After the storm, the most important thing that to remember is “Approach with Caution.”  Once the hurricane is over, most pest control experts agree that tackling the piles of debris is a pertinent and time-sensitive task because the longer that the hurricane debris remains untouched, the more likely it is for snakes to find it and use it for a hiding place.  Keep your family and pets safe by getting rid of hurricane debris sooner rather than later, and even then snakes might already be hiding in it so approach with caution.  You can check first by jostling the debris with a long gardening tool.  If you do find a snake in the debris, call animal control immediately.

Mosquitoes inevitably become problematic after a hurricane because all of the rain brings about a huge spike in the mosquito population.  Be aware of this unavoidable surge so that you can be prepared for it.  Before stepping outside after a hurricane, approach with caution and be ready by covering yourself head-to-toe with mosquito repellent.  The most effective repellents are the ones that contain either Picaridin or DEET, both chemicals work well to keep mosquitoes away for long periods of time.  In addition, you can do your part to curb the rising number of mosquitoes by dumping out or using larvicide to treat pools of standing water found around your home or neighborhood.  Learn about Nozzle Nolen's mosquito treatments.

If you have any questions about pest problems caused by hurricanes in Boca Raton, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens or elsewhere in South Florida or if you are interested in our pest control services, contact Nozzle Nolen today.

Sources

Johnson, Steve A., Dr. "Dealing with Snakes - Is It Venomous?" Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. University of Florida, 06 June 2011. Web. <http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/venomous_snake_identification.shtml>.

Yakowenko, Taylor. "Protecting Your Home from Pests during a Hurricane." WWAY News Channel 3 ABC. WWAY TV, LLC, 06 Oct. 2016. Web. <http://www.wwaytv3.com/2016/10/06/protecting-your-home-from-pests-during-a-hurricane/>.

"Controlling Mosquitoes at the Larval Stage." EPA. US Environmental Protection Agency, 06 July 2016. Web. <https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/controlling-mosquitoes-larval-stage>.

Steenhuysen, Julie. "Hurricane Hermine Will Complicate Florida's Zika Fight: Experts." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 01 Sept. 2016. Web. <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-atlantic-zika-idUSKCN1175WT>.




 

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