How to Combat Pests After a Flood
September and the beginning of October have bought a significant amount of rain to the UK, and experts are beginning to warn of potential threats of flooding in parts of the country. This includes some low-lying areas of the East Midlands.
Whilst the threat of flood in your home is, rightfully, your number one priority, quite often flooding can be a catalyst in other major issues to plague your home. Once flooding has subsided, people wrongly assume they’re safe from further issues. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
After the water has subsided, there’s still a significant threat of pests infesting your property.
Pests You May Encounter After A Flood
Whilst it isn’t at the top of the list for pests that could invade your home post-flood, there is a real possibility of an increase in ant sightings in the dryer parts of your home.
Flooding can completely decimate an underground ant nest, flooding it completely. However, ants don’t possess lungs like humans and instead breath through holes in their body called ‘spiracles’. This allows ants to stay alive underwater for up to 24 hours. Once the water subsides, ants will open their spiracles up and ‘come back to life’.
This causes two problems. One, is that the ants who’ve had it pretty rough (being submerged for up to 24 hours) may begin to search for scarce nutrients that they need to stay alive. Alternatively, problem two, is that scavenger ants that were away from the nest when the flooding occurred, will not be able to get back to the nest, and could potentially invade your home in search of food.
Many people assume that the UK doesn’t have the right conditions for cockroaches to thrive, and usually, they’d be right. However, after a flood, if your electrics or gas supply hasn’t been damaged, you may decide to heat your home again. This will make your home wet, hot and, ultimately, humid. These are the perfect breeding conditions cockroaches.
The terrible thing about cockroaches is that they’re fast breeders. Typically, they will stay in the nooks and crannies of your home. It may be weeks until you notice something is amiss. By this time, the cockroach population of your home could have expanded rapidly.
One thing that is caused by flooding is the overflow of sewers and sewage treatment facilities. If you live close to either (there’s a large chance of you doing so), there’s a considerable chance of your home/garden being flooded by human excrement.
Whilst this isn’t exactly what you’d like, it can be made even worse by the flies that follow. The organic material from these sewers attracts flies. Similarly, any other damp organic material around your home is likely to attract flies too, making for an incredibly unforgiving environment post-flood.
Perhaps one of the worst invaders is rodents. Rats and mice like to live in underground spaces. Once the floodwater begins to penetrate their homes, there’s a high chance they will begin to search out higher ground in order to protect themselves from floodwater.
Unlike insects like flies and cockroaches, rodents won’t just follow the supply of food. They will try to find a safe environment to nest first, and then search for food later. Unfortunately, in a flood, the only things that are warm, dry and above water are houses. Using any method of entry possible, rodents may begin searching your abode for a comfortable nesting place.
Worst still, once they’ve discovered your home makes for an ideal refuge from the flood, like any unruly tenant, they will begin raiding your cupboards for food. Which can add increasing misery to an already desperate situation.
How To Protect Your Home From Pests In A Flood
One of the easiest ways to prevent a pest infestation in your post-flood home is to invest in fans and dehumidifiers. Whilst it’s a fairly large expense, it could save you an even larger emotional expense of having your home riddled with pests.
Fans are great at cooling the home and will help dry the room. Similarly, a dehumidifier will work to reduce the spread of moisture, removing the perfect breeding environment that pests are attracted to.
Secure Any Access Points
If a storm or flood has destroyed certain areas of the home, it’s important to cover these areas as soon as possible! Whilst the groundwater may have subsided, the sewers are still probably flooded – meaning rodents will still be looking for a warm environment to bed down in.
All possible entry points should be closed off to prevent the opportunistic tenants making their entrance into your home.
Sandbags Are Great
If you know you live in an area that is likely to flood, invest in some sandbags. In bulk, you can usually buy them for £2 each. But, this is no real expense when it comes to protecting your home. Place them in front of doors and other cracks that are likely to flood. This may give you enough added protection so you’re not even be threatened with pests, thanks to the lack of water.
If All Else Fails, Call The Experts
Sometimes, we can prepare for every eventuality but even that’s not enough. In that case, Confirm A Kill are here for you. We’ve been operating in the East Midlands for more than 25 years and have truly seen the worst when it comes to weather conditions, from blizzards to heatwaves.
We understand that pests can and will get into your home. Even after taking this advice to limit the risk. If this happens to you, we provide emergency pest control call-outs, and whilst we may not have a boat, we’ll get to you as soon as we can. So, if you have any worries, get in touch with us to arrange a quote or call us out.