Hurricane Sandy Predicted To Have Long-Term Effects On Pest Populations

As those affected by the destructive damage and widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy begin the rebuilding process, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is focusing on the impact the super storm will have on pest populations in affected areas of New York and New Jersey, specifically in hard-hit communities.  Flood and storm-ravaged areas can expect to experience greater contact with pests including rats, bed bugs, termites and flies in the weeks and months after the storm due in large part to population displacement, as well as increased moisture.  The NPMA is monitoring the situation, as the increase in contact poses serious health and property risks that must be addressed during recovery efforts.

The NPMA has identified the following pests to be of greatest concern:

Rodents: Many rodents were likely killed during the hurricane, however, a great number were displaced and immediately began seeking harborage and food.  The delay in garbage pickup that many areas experienced, or continue to experience, will result in abundance of food sources, while the expected increase in construction debris from remodeling will serve as excellent temporary harborages for displaced pests.  As sanitation workers are likely to focus on “garbage” first, and place less of a priority on construction debris which may sit for extended periods, homeowners should keep food trash and construction debris separate so that sanitation workers can easily pick up the items most conducive to rodents.  Any homeowner coming into contact with rodent carcasses during clean up should wear protective gloves to protect against disease transmission.

Flies:  Flies breed in spoiled food, dead rodents or wildlife, and sewage caused by backups or broken pipes.  Homeowners who lost power for several days or were unable to return to their homes for long periods of time are likely dealing with the disposal of rotten food.  Fungus gnats breed in areas affected by moisture where mildew is growing, and may continue to be a problem in the coming months, especially in coastal areas which are still closed off to many homeowners.

Bed Bugs:  The large number of people forced out of their homes and living in hotels and shelters or receiving donated furnishings or clothing, create and increased opportunity for bed bug infestation.  Bed bugs are much greater concern in urban areas hit by the storm, such as New York City, where larger populations of people live close together and interact in enclosed spaces on a regular basis.  Because of the bed bugs’ ability to “hitchhike” on people and their belongings, bed bugs can become a problem for anyone living in close quarters while displaced from their home.

Termites:  Homes that were treated in the past need to be retreated if the neighborhood was flooded and soil was moved or displaced by water.  The pesticide barrier was most likely disturbed and may no longer exist to protect the home from serious structural damage termites can cause.

During the rebuilding process, you should consider using InCide® Pest Control Insulation which offers all the benefits of cellulose insulation combined with pest control protection.  This unique product guards against most common household pests and prevents the germination of mold and mildew.  InCide® works directly in walls and attics where bugs and pest infiltrate and live.  Insects are killed upon contact with the insulation.  By installing InCide® Pest Control Insulation, you can be reassured that insects are not hiding where you cannot see them.


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