After the Disaster: The Pest Problems Australia Now Faces

Kreethi Yadav

The aftermath of Cyclone Yarsi in Queensland and the severe flooding in Northern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia may trigger a number of  pest problems.

Besides the tangible effects of the flooding such as the severe damage to property and infrastructure, there are also major concerns with contamination, disease and pests that can develop in the weeks, months and even years after the aftermath.

Rain and flooding, followed by warm weather and humidity creates an ideal environment that is conductive for pests  such as mosquitoes,  flies, wasps, termites, rodents and diseases such as Ross River fever and Dengue fever.

A lot of Australians have already lost their homes and personal property because of the flooding but there is a major threat that a lot more homes are at risk because their termite management systems have been compromised.  Most termite management systems around homes will generally withstand heavy rain and some flooding however given the severity of the recent flooding many homes would have had their termite management systems washed away.

In particular where a termiticide (chemical) has been placed around a home and flooding has occurred the soil may have been displaced and termites will be able to enter the untreated areas undetected and cause damage.   Homeowners with termite barriers need to have their homes inspected by a professional pest controller and if necessary have the termite barrier reinstalled.

The flood waters are also known to breed mosquitoes which are also a major health threat.  As water subsides Mosquito larvae will develop in the standing and or stagnant water that has been standing for at least 7-10 days.  Along with this increase in mosquitoes, there may be an increase in the risk of some mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River fever.  The best protection against mosquitoes and the diseases that they transmit is to wear long, loose protective clothing and to wear a personal insect repellent.

To reduce the risk of mosquitoes  it is particularly important to remove containers around the home that hold water and to repair window screens as soon as possible, clear gutters and other structures or debris that may hold water.

With no other place to go rats and mice will also be attracted to houses for their food and shelter.  The most common method to control these pests is by contacting a professional pest controller who will provide advice on the most suitable solution to control rats and mice in your home.

Lastly but not least the introduced European Wasps that has already increased in numbers over recent years would have been driven from their underground nests. Wasps are very easily agitated if disturbed or if they feel threatened, and as the clean up takes place around the suburbs people need to be on the alert for them.

Kreethi Yadav
Kreethi Yadav

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