As we head into September, the peak month for hurricane season in the United States, all signs are pointing towards an active season — already with eight named storms and four hurricanes. As these storms approach land, an insurmountable amount of destruction often comes along with them, creating safety hazards and environments that are conducive to pest infestations. Large amounts of sand and even large boulders from coastal beaches are moved from place to place. High winds and flooding cause severe damage to houses and businesses.
Although completely avoiding the effects of these storms is nearly impossible, the following hurricane pest control tips can greatly assist businesses engaged in hurricane and flooding clean-up and recovery efforts.
Floodwaters may contain human waste, chemicals, fuels, or other substances and bacteria such as E.coli that can be harmful, if not fatal, to humans. It is important to use extreme caution if working in any flooded area of your business. Make sure to wear personal protective equipment whenever possible and keep all windows open while moving through these hazardous conditions to avoid breathing toxic gases that may be impacting the air quality. On a similar note, make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly functioning in your building.
The number one post-hurricane pest concern is, without question, mosquitoes. Standing water and humid conditions create the perfect storm for a rapid uptick in mosquito populations and the viruses that come with it. It is important to remove the water before an infestation develops. Fire ants are another post-hurricane concern and can relocate by floating in large clumps during flooding. If you spy a fire ant raft, do not attempt to treat it with pesticides, as this can further contaminate floodwaters.
Furthermore, make it a priority to remove all debris from exterior areas. Rodents will look for opportunities to make their home or build nests in piles of debris, including leaves, branches, and fallen trees.
Another method of preventing pests after a storm is to keep your space as sanitary as possible. Remove and discard saturated carpets and get rid of all debris from exterior areas. Pests may make their home or build nests in piles of debris left for too long. Additionally, keep trash and debris at a distance from structures, as this can attract insects, rodents and other wildlife. Repairing or replacing screens or doors that may have been damaged by flying debris can also keep insects out of your business. For peace of mind that your building is free of bacteria and viruses, you may want to consider professional disinfection for spaces that have been severely impacted by the storm.
Often the first sign of a severe storm is widespread power outages from severe winds and rain. This can cause meat, vegetables, fruit and other perishable items to go bad quickly. After a power outage, be sure to utilize your senses. Any food that smells off, looks off-color or has changed texture should be immediately thrown away. Thawed frozen food items are unsafe to eat and should be discarded as well. It is important to never taste suspect food items; if food has spoiled or has been contaminated, you could make yourself sick.
In the wake of a catastrophic storm, Rentokil will do all that we can to help local communities in impacted areas. We understand how devastating of an impact natural disasters can have on the livelihood of commercial businesses. That is why we offer pest control, disinfection, clean air technology, and other services to aid in recovery efforts. For even more resources, visit our hurricane recovery hub here.