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Can Pests Survive Flood Waters?

Hurricane season is upon Florida, and with hurricanes comes flooding. While it may be tempting to believe that flood waters will wash away pests around the home, the unfortunate truth is that flooding may lead to an increase in unwanted pests. Like humans, floods drive pests out of their homes in search of dry ground, and this dry ground is often human homes. Exterminators with Champion Termite & Pest Control have compiled this list of common pests to watch out for following a flood.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are particularly intelligent and resourceful creatures. During a flood, ant colonies will cling together to create a type of living raft that floats on flood waters. With the queen and her larvae protected in the middle, these rafts of hundreds, even thousands of ants can stay afloat for up to two weeks ⁠— more than enough time for the colony to find dry ground.

Fire ants floating on debris after a flood in Florida.

Likely places that ant rafts adhere to include trees, mailboxes, garages, and houses. It is common to see an increase in ant infestations requiring ant control following a flood, so keep an eye out for live insects or nests that may indicate an ant problem.

Mosquitoes

Because they breed in standing water, mosquitoes are more likely to become a problem in the weeks following a flood. Mosquito control after a flood requires the elimination of stale or stagnant water around a property, so be sure to drain sources of standing water such as bird baths, clogged gutters, pet bowls, or garbage cans and lids. Mosquito bites can spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue, so contact a professional pest control service at the first sign of an infestation.

Rodents And Vermin

Rodents, such as rats and mice, and larger vermin, such as raccoons, are likely to be displaced during a flood, driving them to seek dry ground. Floods may cause structural damage to homes, providing convenient entry points for rodents and vermin to seek shelter. After a flood, cover cracked or broken windows or doors with plywood to prevent rodents and vermin from gaining access to your home. Signs of a rodent infestation that may require the services of a professional exterminator include droppings, scratching noises, and burrows around the home.

Termites

As long as water doesn’t reach their tunnels, termites can survive a flood. Termites are attracted to damp or water-damaged wood, and barrier treatments that were applied in the past or during construction will be washed away by flood waters. This means that homes are particularly vulnerable to termite damage following a flood. As you repair flooding damage, it is important to contact a pest control service to reapply your termite barrier. Other preventative steps in termite control include picking up wood debris left by the storm and stacking a good distance from the house, to prevent termites who might be snacking on the damp wood from jumping to the house.

Flies

A number of factors can lead to an increase in flies after a flood. Flies lay eggs in filth and waste, so they are drawn to garbage, overflowing sewage, carcasses of dead animals, and spoiled food in malfunctioning fridges. Homeowners should exercise fly control after a flood by tossing spoiled food and ensuring that garbage is removed from their property as soon as possible.

The last thing homeowners want to deal with in the aftermath of a flood is a pest infestation of any type. Unfortunately, natural disasters leave homes susceptible to pests. If you suspect pests have used flood waters to infiltrate your home, contact Champion Termite & Pest Control today to schedule a free inspection. We serve Palatka, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Starke, and surrounding areas.

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