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Hurricane season is upon us. Most Florida homeowners are familiar with the precautions necessary to protect their homes from storm damage, but did you know that hurricanes leave your home more susceptible to pest infestation?
During a hurricane, animals look for high ground and shelter from water and strong winds. Some species of ants will swarm together to create a type of “raft” that floats on floodwater until they find land. And certain pests thrive after a hurricane because larger predators have vacated the area. Exterminators at Champion Termite & Pest Control offer tips to protect your home from pests during hurricane season.
Even before hurricane warnings begin, homeowners should conduct both interior and exterior inspections to identify weak areas that may be at risk of structural damage from the storm. Seal cracks with silicone-based caulk and repair existing water damage. Rodents often seek shelter from storms in houses, and they need only a small point of entry to gain access. Pest exterminators recommend keeping potential pest breeding sites such as garbage cans and mulch piles at a distance from the house.
The most important component of mosquito control is ensuring that insects don’t have space to breed. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing water, so identify and drain standing water around the property, such as:
Mosquitos are more than an annoyance; their bites can spread harmful diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue. Because mosquito bites can increase up to 50 percent after a storm, proper pest control is vital in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palatka, Stark and the surrounding areas of Northeast Florida.
Extended power outages can lead to spoiled and rotting food, which in turn attracts flies. Dispose of food waste in sealed garbage bags outside the home. Because food waste can also attract rats and other rodents displaced by the storm, homeowners should ensure that sanitation workers pick up discarded food as soon as possible. Following a natural disaster, sanitation workers generally retrieve common garbage before construction debris, so homeowners should separate these materials.
Moisture from hurricanes can increase the risk of ant and termite infestations. When heavy rains saturate the soil, insects living underground are driven out to find better and drier accommodations. Unfortunately, this might be your home. Water-damaged wood is more likely to attract termites, which can cause thousands of dollars worth of property damage over time. Once a termite infestation begins, professional termite control services are required to exterminate the colony. To avoid these risks, remove debris such as leaves and fallen branches that might attract pests, fix damaged pipes that are leaking after the storm, empty clogged gutters, and make sure your property slopes away from the house to prevent water pooling around the foundation.
High winds, heavy rain, and fallen branches can cause damage to houses and create convenient entrances for larger pests such as rats, mice, raccoons, and squirrels. Look for signs of damage to the exterior of the home such as damaged roofing, eaves, or siding, and make sure it is fixed as soon as possible. Check that screens are in good condition and seal gaps around windows and doors with caulk and steel wool.
If you suspect a pest infestation in your home following a hurricane, contact our licensed pest control service with Champion Termite & Pest Control. Our exterminators will conduct a thorough inspection and work with you to create a treatment plan.
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