March, April and May are Texas’s wettest months. But, this ain’t our first rodeo. We’re no strangers to flash floods, heavy storms and sustained rains. Floods are our most regular and costly natural disaster.
When returning home to begin the rebuilding process, some of the main problems you are likely to encounter are mold, deteriorating materials, insect infestations and pest problems.
During a flooding situation, animals, just like humans, will be forced to flee from their homes. Searching for drier, higher ground, animals often find refuge in dry areas of homes and other buildings.
After a devastating storm, such as Hurricane Harvey, the threats don’t end when the water recedes. Severe pest problems can develop both during floods and after flood water has retreated. Snakes, fire ants, rats, and other dangers can come with the flooding or arrive afterwards. More often than not, pests make their way into homes and other structures after a flood.
When returning to your home or business after a flood, it’s important to stay out of flood waters and keep an eye out for snakes, insects, and other animals.
Common Pest Problems After a Flood
Keep on the lookout for the following pests after a flood:
When flood waters rush into ant colonies, they are forced out quickly. Ants form a tight group that acts as a raft, allowing them to float on top of flood waters until they find dry land or a floating object to latch onto. Once the ants encounter a dry piece of land, such as your house, they will stick around. Since there are many different species of ants, treatment methods will vary.
If you notice any ants or mounds around your home, don’t worry. Contact ABC Home & Commercial Services to identify your ant problems and recommend the most efficient and effective treatment plan.
Cockroaches like wet, humid conditions. They may not come in with the flood waters, but the moist, post-flood conditions will certainly attract them. Learn more about where cockroaches like to live and how to evict these pests.
As we mentioned before, flood water is not clean. It is probably contaminated with sewage, dead animals, food and other organic material that attracts insects and other pests.
Organic food left out in the home will also draw insects in. Learn how to get rid of fruit flies, house flies and cluster flies. Prevention and exclusion are normally the best ways to treat a fly infestation.
Flood or no flood, mosquitoes are a huge problem in Texas and much of the rest of the country. As you probably know, mosquitoes tend to breed around stale, standing water. After a flood, standing water will be everywhere.
You can help prevent mosquitos from gathering by getting rid of any receptacle where water has collected (such as garbage cans and kiddie pools); however, to truly eliminate your mosquito problem, you’ll need professional assistance.
Watch the video below for more information:
When rodents’ unground homes are flooded, they will look for higher ground and dry structures, such as buildings. They usually enter the home through holes and cracks that can be hard to locate, typically near roofs, dormers, chimneys, roof joints and attic vents.
Here are some common signs of a rodent problem:
- Scratching Noises
Each home will require a different exclusion and prevention program. Learn about your rodent control options for dealing with rats, mice, raccoons, and other rodents.
Snakes and Reptiles
Whenever there is heavy flooding, and especially in Texas, snakes, lizards, and even alligators are found in areas too close for comfort. This is one more reason to avoid flood waters and keep pets and children far away.
Texas is home to over 76 species of snakes. The four types of poisonous snakes are copperheads, cottonmouths, coral snakes and rattlesnakes. The only venomous snake that lives in water is the cottonmouth.
Learn about the different types of snakes you may encounter in Texas and how to deal with them. If you notice any snakes around your home, contact the pest professional at ABC Home & Commercial Services to keep the snakes away.
Post-Flood Pest Control Tips
1. Dehumidify the Home
One of the number one things you want to do when cleaning up your home after a flooding situation is get rid of the excess humidity in the air. Since many insects and rodents are attracted to wet conditions, use dehumidifiers, exhaust fans, and box fans to create drier conditions.
If you don’t have a humidification system installed into your HVAC system, investing in a dehumidifier is a smart choice.
2. Cover Any Openings
Storms and floods can cause a lot of damage, including broken windows and doors. Make sure you cover up all of these entry points while you wait for a permanent fix.
This is also a good time to look for any areas around the home where animals might get in. Many pests enter the home near the attic and roof. You may want to hire a professional pest control company to inspect and seal all holes, cracks and gaps around the home.
Learn more about exclusion techniques. An expert pest professional will know exactly where to look to find and seal entry points.
3. Remove Waterlogged and Organic Debris
It’s important to remove all waterlogged items, food, sewage and other debris as soon as possible. When in doubt, throw it out!
By removing all of your water-damaged goods, you can prevent mold and fungus growth. If there is extensive damage to the home, it’s best to hire a professional restoration company. Storm-damaged homes can be extremely dangerous.
4. Clean and Sanitize
Cleaning and decluttering is always a good idea, but it’s especially important after storms and floods. Once you have removed all water-soaked objects and dried up the home, use sanitation products to clean the home, especially around and underneath furniture, appliances, and other large objects.
The goal is to remove all water and compromised materials from the home. If you notice any broken or leaking pipes, turn off the water supply and contact a professional plumber as soon as you can.
Speak with a Professional Pest Control Company
While many homeowners will be tempted to spray insecticides around the home, this can be dangerous and counter-productive.
Pesticides are dangerous and toxic. If they are used, they should be handled by a professional. We highly recommend choosing a pest control company that uses pesticides as a last resort.
After any type of flooding situation, consult a professional pest control company to keep the critters away.
Returning to Flooded Home Checklist
- Only return home if officials have deemed it safe to do so.
- Continue to pay attention to local news and NOAA for updated information and instructions.
- Before you enter, look for dangerous conditions, such as downed power lines. Stay away from and report all downed power lines to 911. Do not come within 40 feet of a downed power line.
- Approach the home carefully. Your home may be damaged. Beware of snakes, rodents, and other pests.
- Do not come into contact with floodwater. Avoid any water that could be contaminated. Keep children and pets away from dangerous conditions and floodwater. Never stand in water and operate any electrical equipment.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, evacuate the property and contact the fire department.
- Learn how to inspect your home’s structure and utilities & systems after a flood.
- If any electrical or gas equipment has been flooded, do not use these systems until they have been professionally inspected for proper safety.
- When cleaning up, make sure you wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
- Throw away any food, furnishings and material that has absorbed water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected.
- Contact local authorities for instructions on disposing certain materials, such as paint, batteries, fuel/fuel containers and cleaning products.
- Pump out water from your basement slowly, “about one-third of the water per day to avoid structural damage” (American Red Cross).
- Contact professional services for specific recommendations for returning your home to normal, dry conditions.
Keep in mind that you may still be eligible to purchase flood insurance after a flood, if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Check your state NFIP coordinating agency.
Choose the Right Pest Control Company
Storms, such as Hurricane Harvey, leave behind wakes of havoc and destruction. While we can’t control the weather, we can choose how to react. When it comes to rebuilding your home and keeping pests away, leave it to the professionals.
ABC Home & Commercial Services carefully constructs unique treatments plans for the safest and most effective treatment possible. Our low-impact pest control services are carried out responsibly and professional by trained and certified pest control specialists. Your safety and peace of mind is our top priority.
If you have any questions about pest control after a flood or need any advice on post-flood treatments, contact the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services.