Don’t Bug Me!
Bugs and rats are unpleasant topics, but they’re an unfortunate reality when hurricanes and flooding occur.
“Insect and rodent populations increase rapidly after disasters like hurricanes, due to vast supplies of food and ample harborage among abandoned homes,” says Allen James, president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), a national nonprofit trade association representing producers and suppliers of specialty pesticides and fertilizers.
“The potential for the spread of disease from pests like flies, mosquitoes and rats often rivals that of the polluted waters,” he says. “Pest-control products applied properly in these affected areas help protect the public health and safety of those cleaning up after the disaster and residents moving back into their communities.”
If you spot pests in your home or around your property, assume others lurk nearby. Don’t wait until a horde descends: Check with your local disaster management agency to see what efforts are being undertaken to control pest populations. If infestation is limited to your home, call a qualified pest-control professional to locate and destroy habitats. More than one visit may be necessary to achieve complete eradication.
Instruct your children to stay away from debris piles, which contain hazards like broken glass, nails and other sharp objects. Piles are also havens for snakes, mice, rats, fire ants, ticks and bees, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).