Hurricane season causes billions of dollars of damage every year, and depending on how near to the coast you live, your property could be part of that tally. And, thanks to storms like Hurricane Florence, the 2018 hurricane season promises to be one of the Carolina region's most devastating in years.
Most homeowners brace themselves - fiscally, mentally, and emotionally - for possible flood damage after a storm, but if you live in a storm-prone area, you need to prepare yourself to deal with damage from pests, too.
You can't control how high floodwaters rise, how fast the wind blows, or how furiously the storm will hit your property - but you can control, at least to an extent, how the hurricane affects your home based on how you prepare for impact. Take these steps to minimize potential pest problems both before and after a hurricane hits.
At the Start of Hurricane Season
If you aren't already in the habit, start scheduling seasonal visits from pest exterminators. Along with removing any pesky residents, the pest control company can assess your home's weak points and make recommendations on how to keep pests out.
The start of storm season is also the time to seal any cracks in your doors, windows, siding, and walls. Boarding up windows and doors right before a specific hurricane hits is obviously crucial, but thoroughly sealing and caulking leaks, cracks, and holes as early as possible prevents water from leaking in and pests from gaining a pre-flood foothold or sneaking in after the storm.
Make sure not to neglect your roof, as holes in your roof are an open invitation to pests of all sorts. Seasonally inspect gutters for tree debris that can rot or clog to create pools of standing water, both of which attract pests.
Right Before the Storm
If you're part of an evacuation zone, chances are high that your property will lose power during the storm and won't regain it for at least a few days, if not weeks. The food in your fridge and freezer will be unsalvageable by the time you can safely return to your property, and while you're away, the rotten food can attract pests like flies and rodents.
Before you leave, remove as many perishable items as you can from the freezer, fridge, and pantry. Move non-perishables like canned goods to a higher story where they'll be less likely to get water damaged than in the first-floor kitchen.
After the Storm
The steps you'll take to deal with water damage also reduce your chances of inviting pest infestations. Most importantly for both goals, deal with standing water immediately. Contaminated water not only spreads disease and further damages your property but also attracts dangerous pests like mosquitoes, termites, and rodents.
Once you've removed all standing water from your home, address the remaining damp, moldy, water-damaged patches. Ripping out floorboards and stripping walls of plaster is long, hard work, but the quicker you remove waterlogged materials, the quicker you stop damage from spreading and pests from taking up residence.
Unfortunately, taking these steps might not be enough to stall a pest problem, especially one that took root before the storm. After you've done whatever cleanup you can, including sanitizing a graywater-damaged home and removing all dangerous debris, get in touch with a pest control company for help dealing with unwanted visitors.
Live in South Carolina and need help with a pest problem? All State Exterminating Co has a solution for you. Along with pest control services, we also restore roofs, which makes us your one-stop shop for post-hurricane damage control. Get in touch anytime.