NSW Heavy Rain, Floods & Pests
The Eastern side of Australia is facing what has been called “a one in a hundred-year event” with the heavy rain and flooding that has been battling our country for the last 10 days.
While the rain and floods cause havoc on people’s homes & movements, there is another aspect that also needs to be considered that occurs both during and after floods, pests!
Pests also receiving their evacuation orders.
- When areas flood, pests that usually live below the ground need to find a new home. Insects that usually require moisture to survive, such as termites, will also evacuate when the ground becomes too wet.
- Bugs and insects are not the only pests that live underground, rats, mice & snakes that create tunnels and burrows below the surface, also need to evacuate as the water seeps into their holes.
- All cockroaches need moisture and humidity to stay alive, which means they are naturally attracted to areas that are moist and humid.
- As millions of cockroach species live in sewers, gutters, or drainpipes, when we get heavy rainfall these places flood.
- Flooding can force cockroaches out of their homes and into new places such as your home.
- After periods of heavy rain and floods , it is common to find cockroaches in and around your home.
- These cockroaches are most likely flooding evacuees that snuck into your home.
How to tell if you’ve got a cockroach problem
- Expect to see more spider activity when it rains & floods.
- Rain and flooding can be a nuisance for spiders, but it also offers an opportunity for spiders as they will go where their prey goes, this means when it rains, they will follow their prey inside your home.
- Spiders prefer to build their webs wherever they think they can catch prey.
- Ground spiders, such as funnel web spiders that build burrows and tunnels under the ground, during heavy rain and floods get wiped out.
- With high levels of rainfall spiders are being washed out of their burrows and into our unsuspecting paths.
- Residents in the Eastern states are being warned about an increase in funnel-web spiders due to the wet weather.
How to tell if you’ve got a spider problem
- Egg sacs
- Excess flying insects.
- Seeing spiders.
Rats & Mice.
- Rats often move into buildings to escape damage caused by flood waters as their usual burrows will have been destroyed, forcing them to find new homes.
- Rats are known as strong swimmers and can swim great distances in search of a new home.
- They can use damaged pipework, plumbing or cracks to enter properties.
- Discarded household goods and other storm debris, sheds can become the perfect next nesting place, while riding out the storm and floods.
- If you do not have rats or mice inside your property, keep an eye out on the area surrounding your premises.
- It is not just their burrows that get destroyed in floods but also their food sources could have been destroyed by flooding.
- Rats & mice usually come inside looking for food as well as shelter.
The Dangers of Rats during floods
- During flood periods rats are more likely to spread disease.
- Rats carry a particular health risk in flooded areas, as their urine contains leptospires which can survive outside the rat’s body for much longer periods in extreme wet weather. These leptospires in the rats’ urine can cause Weil’s disease.
- Hantavirus can be transmitted from rodents to people through food and water that has been contaminated by rodent urine and excrement.
- Their droppings and hair can cause people to sneeze, itch and experience other allergic reactions.
- When rats eat through food packaging anything that is left over should be considered contaminated and disposed of immediately.
- If you have a food commercial property, a rat infestation serious implications can occur.
How to tell if you’ve got a rat problem
- Rat Droppings
- Scratching Noises
- Footprints (running tracks)
- Rub Marks
- Flooding and heavy rain can push ants into homes and businesses.
- When rainwater flushes through the ground, thousands of ants try to move out of their nest and seek the closest dry ground.
- It has been seen in the past where ants will actually cling to each other to float around in the water and attach themselves to whatever is out of the water.
- As floodwaters recede, your property may become heavily infested with garden ants.
How to tell if you’ve got an ant problem
- Live insects
- Ant pathways
- Ant nest
- Subterranean termites need moisture to survive, but in heavy rain and floods to avoid drowning they do not move to higher ground like other pests, they enter an immobile state to conserve oxygen. During this immobile state termites can survive under water for up to 16-30 hours .
- Termites can even survive in saturated soil, as long as the water does not flood their tunnels.
- Flooding in and around your home causes the damp conditions that attract moisture-loving termites.
How to tell if you’ve got a termite problem?
- Hollowed wood, with outer shell of wood intact
- Earthen shelter tubes and mud packing on brickwork in subfloor areas or around home.
- Flight tubes from the release of alates (winged form of termites)
- Flight cuts in trees
- Swarms of alates flying from the colony (usually in Nov/ Dec)
- Presence of termite castes in trees or workings
- Presence of mounds or nests in trees.
- Snakes can lose their home during a flood and as a result, they will explore for shelter out of the way of rising water, and food inside houses, storage sheds and other buildings.
- Damaged structures have a better probability of attracting snakes due to the various accessible entrances.
- Snakes may be found under debris scattered by the flood or in debris.
- There are current news reports of snakes jumping into rescue boats & climbing trees in a way to escape the flood waters.
How to tell if you’ve got a snake problem?
- Shedding or moulted skin
- Weird noises in dark, cramped places
- Absence of rodents
Whilst Sydneys Best Pest Control do not remove snakes, we will certainly provide you with details of a snake handler in your area.
- With more water around, there are likely to be more mosquitoes !
- As flood waters recede a greater number of mosquitoes is likely to lead to an outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases.
- It is a known indisputable fact that mosquitoes need water!
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around bodies of water, so the more water there is around, the more mosquito eggs are laid, resulting in a greater population of mosquitoes.
- Despite plagues of mosquitoes taking advantage of flood waters, outbreaks of disease do not always occur, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
How to tell if you’ve got a mosquito problem?
- Hearing a high-pitched buzzing sound
- Mosquito Bites
- Seeing mosquitoes moving around on ceilings and glass surfaces.
Hazards After Floods
When returning to a flood-affected area be aware that pests such as rats, mice, snakes, or spiders, may be around.
- Do not approach wild or stray animals.
- Store away all food to avoid attracting rats and mice.
- Watch out for snakes.
- Take precautions to control mosquitos around your home.
- Remove deceased pets and other animals as possible.
Rats and Mice.
- Remove food and items that can provide shelter.
- Wash dishes and cooking utensils immediately after use.
- Get rid of garbage and debris as soon as possible.
- Organise a knowledgeable rodent control treatment.
- Wear long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing including socks and covered shoes.
- Use a good mosquito repellent.
- Drain away water left standing outdoors in open containers like flowerpots, tyres, or buckets.
- Change pets’ water bowls regularly.
- Use fly screens on windows, doors, and vents.
- Use mosquito coils in outdoor areas.
- Wear boots, gloves, and long pants.
- Be careful where you place your hands and feet during clean up.
- If you see a snake, move back slowly from it.
- Do not touch the snake.
- Remove debris from around your home as soon as possible.
- Be aware.
- If you find a snake in your house, do not panic.
- Seek advice from a snake handler.
If you have been in a flood affected area and require any assistance with pest issues contact us on 1800 819 189. We have an online chat service available, or you can contact us through our contact page.
We hope that all our fellow NSW residents are safe during this time.