In many parts of Australia, flooding has become a major issue due to the excessive amount of rain that has fallen in recent years. Keep in mind that wild creatures such as rats, mice, snakes, and spiders may be stranded in your house, shed, or garden if you live in a flood-affected region.
Providing an early remedy for flooding and moisture issues in the walls, crawl spaces/basements, or attics can prevent the development of more severe pest problems, including the growth of wood-decaying fungi or worse.
Mould/mildew developing on wood or insulation may also attract pests that can become a nuisance, such as plaster beetles, which can quickly multiply and become a persistent headache.
When areas get flooded, the animals that dwell under the surface of the earth must find a new location to call home. Even insects that need a lot of moisture, such as termites, will flee if the ground gets too saturated with water. When there is heavy rain, you may soon discover hundreds of termites crawling all over your outside walls, deck, and patio.
Bugs aren’t the only creatures that may be found under the surface of the earth. When flooding strikes, furry animals that dwell in fields and wooded regions may be forced to flee their homes as well.
Water begins to seep in and they are forced to abandon their caves and tunnels in search of higher ground. The result may be that they will come straight to your yard or even into your house.
How does climate change affect pests and diseases?
Climate change, coupled with increased global commerce, is one of the factors contributing to the spread of pests and illnesses. Beyond pest population size and survival rates, climate change may also have an impact on the geographical spread of pests and illnesses, as well as the severity, development, and geographical distribution of related diseases.
According to scientists, temperature and rainfall are the most important factors influencing changes in the way pests and illnesses propagate.
They add that when temperatures and precipitation levels are too high, this may potentially limit the development and reproduction of certain pest species as well as cause them to die by washing their eggs and larvae off the host plant, exterminating them.
According to this theory, a large number of pests are migrating away from the tropics and into more temperate regions. Pests prefer warmer temperatures but only to a certain extent.
When the weather is too hot or too cold, population growth is slowed. Because temperate zones don’t always provide an optimum temperature for pests to thrive, populations often increase more rapidly in such places only as the climate warms.
Pests to Look Out for During Floods
Floods – Dealing with snakes
During a flood, snakes may be forced to abandon their homes. So they may seek refuge and food inside structures like homes, storage sheds, and other structures. Snakes have an easier time getting inside damaged buildings and debris, too.
When you’re outside:
- Wearing strong work boots and gloves, as well as long trousers, can help to keep your legs safe.
- When removing or cleaning up debris, be mindful of where you put your hands and feet to avoid injury.
- If you come across a snake, take a few steps back and let it continue on its path without interfering. Do not come into contact with it.
- Remove any debris from the area surrounding your house as quickly as possible since it may attract rats, lizards, and insects, which are all prey for snakes.
- Keep an eye out for snakes, which may be swimming in the water in an attempt to reach higher ground.
When you’re inside:
- If you discover a snake in your home, do not be alarmed.
- Seek guidance from someone who is experienced in properly removing the snake from the area.
Floods – Rats and Mice
Mice and rats spread illnesses and are a nuisance. Post-flood prevention should include the following measures:
- Remove food and anything that may attract rats.
- Immediately wash used dishes and cookware.
- Garbage and waste should be placed into a trash can with a cover.
- Place rodent baits or traps in dry places, out of reach of youngsters and pets.
As they establish themselves in these new settings, they will breed and begin to establish their colonies. Mice have a gestation period ranging from 19 to 21 days.
Such swift infestation can have businesses in afflicted areas feel concerned that the constant flooding could harm their employees’ health and safety.
Expansions of rodent-borne, infectious illnesses such as Leptospirosis, Hantavirus-caused disorders such as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome may be triggered by present climatic circumstances.
Many of these rodents are carriers of illnesses that may be transmitted to humans even if there is no direct human-to-rodent contact between the two creatures.
Disease-transmitting microorganisms found in rodent urine and droppings can cause leptospirosis, rat bite fever, and salmonellosis, among other illnesses. In normal circumstances, if a mouse has salmonellosis, the droppings may remain active for up to 148 days after the infection has occurred.
Floods – Ants
Flooding and severe rain have the potential to drive ants into homes and businesses.
When rainfall flushes through the earth, millions of ants will attempt to flee their colony and seek the next patch of dry land.
Researchers have seen ants physically clinging to one another to float on floodwater and attaching themselves to whatever is visible above the surface of the water afterwards.
Your land may become severely infested with garden ants when floods recede, indeed.
Floods – Termites
Subterranean termites need moisture to live, but in the event of severe rain or flooding, they do not seek higher ground as other pests do to escape drowning. Instead, they adopt an immobile condition to save oxygen. Termites may live underwater for up to 16-30 hours while in this immobilised condition.
Termites may even live in wet soil as long as the water does not enter their tunnels and cause them to collapse.
Flooding in and around your house creates wet conditions that attract termites, which are typically attracted to moisture.
How can you determine if you have a termite infestation?
- Wood that has been hollowed out retains its outer shell
- Earthen shelter tubes and mud packing on brickwork in underfloor areas or in and around the house
- The release of alates causes the formation of flight tubes (a winged form of termites)
- Swarms of alates flying out from the colony (often in November and December)
- The presence of termite castes in trees or other structures.
- Termites warn their colony by hammering their heads on wood or shaking their bodies.
- The presence of mounds or nests in trees
After a Flood – Avoiding Mosquitoes
As the water recedes and pools develop, rain and floods may boost mosquito populations.
In Victoria, mosquitoes transmit illnesses to humans through their bites.
In avoiding mosquito bites:
- Cover as much as you can. Wear long, light-coloured clothes with socks and covered shoes.
- Apply a mosquito repellent with picaridin or DEET (or N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) to all exposed skin.
- Keep mosquitoes away from your house. Drain standing water in open containers like flower pots, tyres, or buckets. Replace water dishes for dogs.
- Use fly screens on windows, doors, and vents to keep mosquitoes out.
- In tiny outdoor spaces, use mosquito coils, knockdown sprays, or vaporisers.
- Regularly change your pet’s water.
Keeping pests and pandemics at bay
The necessity for monitoring pest and disease outbreaks has been recognised by more and more experts, most of whom advocate for the establishment of a worldwide surveillance system to monitor and enhance reaction times.
Along with developing pest and disease-resistant varieties, breeding pest and disease-resistant varieties reduce the need for pesticides and fungicides, which benefits the environment.
Strong biosecurity measures to prevent, detect, and respond to new incursions of exotic pests and diseases will become more important as Australia becomes more interconnected with the rest of the world as a result of growing trade and international passenger movements.
What to do before the floods?
Check to see that your outer walls are properly sealed, that your window screens are in excellent functioning order, that your door sweeps are in good operating order, and that your weatherstripping is correctly placed.
Check all of your gutters to ensure that they are not blocked or damaged and that they are functioning properly to direct water away from your home’s foundation. Many pests are drawn to a house by moist soil near the foundation, standing pools of water, and damp wood.
If you have stacked wood, heaps of twigs, building materials, or any other wood product placed in your yard, you should move them at least 20 feet away from your exterior walls to avoid damaging the latter.
Allow the experienced pest specialists here at Pest Police to construct a barrier that pests will not be able to cross over.
Bugs and animals are a constant source of concern, but severe rains and floods may provide them with even more incentive to infiltrate your residence. Make sure they know they are unwanted when they make their way into your yard, and that your protections are in place to keep them out.
While flooding will displace bugs and animals, preventative measures will keep such critters from making themselves at home within your place as a result.
Hazards After Floods
- Keep in mind that, while returning to a flood-affected region, you should be mindful of pests such as rats, mice, snakes, and spiders that may be in the area.
- Do not approach wild or stray animals unless necessary.
- Store all food in a secure location to prevent attracting rats and mice.
- Keep an eye out for snakes.
- Take measures to keep mosquitoes at bay in and around your house.
- Pets and other creatures that have died should be removed as soon as possible.
Indeed, floods that affected sections of the country over the past couple of months have had disastrous consequences for human health and property, and the aftermath may be just as damaging.
Pest issues may erupt in the days and weeks after a flood, exacerbating the already difficult challenges involved with recovery and rehabilitation. Pests thrive in an environment where there is an excess of water and waste, after all.
Steps to Reduce Pest Pressures After Flooding
Inspect your property for signs of damage that may enable pests to gain access to buildings or allow animals to enter the premises. The implementation of exclusionary measures is an essential first step that has to be prioritised following their importance.
Although resources may be limited, it is important to remember that temporary exclusion measures are much preferable to having none at all.
Close all of the doors and windows in your home. All entrances to the outdoors should be protected with mesh screens of size 30 or less. Weekly, clean up places and objects that collect standing water, such as empty bottles and cans, tyres, buckets, flower pots, cups, and bowls, among other things. A mosquito breeding ground may be found wherever there is a little pool of water half an inch deep or more.
Locate sources of garbage and organic wastes and put them in trash bags, containers with tight-fitting lids, or dumpsters that are securely sealed.
The presence of cockroaches and flies can tell you that there are available resources they can take advantage of to thrive. Take note of the location of any animal corpses or other places that cannot be properly handled with and share this information with your chosen pest control provider so the appropriate treatment can be done as soon as possible.
In the end, always remember: high humidity is a major requirement for pests to flourish in your home or work environment. And with floods bringing plenty of such, your property has to be ready because pest infestation is one destructive aftermath you certainly do not want to deal with following such natural calamity.
When a flood brings with it unwanted guests, you can always call our pest control crew to tackle your pest problems before they get worse. Contact us to know how we can help with your uniquely challenging pest circumstances.