After a Flood: Avoiding Pest Problems

>>MIKE WALDVOGEL: Alright. We’ve on site here with a house that suffered
severe floodwater damage, and of course, again, as you are starting your clean up you are
going to get rid of all the food that’s starting to decay from the loss of power and also that
got trapped inside your refrigerator and freezer during that time. And so when you bag all that material up,
it becomes real important to dispose of it carefully because it will start attracting
flies very quickly. The other thing is you want to make sure you
put it inside a trash can of some sort, because if you just put those bags out there along
the side of the road to be picked up, you are going to find out that over night, wildlife
in the area has probably come and torn that apart looking for something to eat. Alright, termites are probably the furthest
thing from your mind when you start to recover from severe flooding due to a storm. But you need to be planning ahead as you begin
repairs on your house. And one of the first things you really need
to do is contact your insurance company to find out whether they will help you in terms
of getting your house retreated for termites as you start through the progression of repair
work. You’ll notice the problem over here happened
that as they were doing some repairs they piled up a lot of soil, and this soil isn’t
treated with a chemical, a termiticide, but your soil may have been treated along your
foundation, so you now have essentially a bridge that termites can use to bypass that
treatment and get into your house and potentially cause damage years later. And so that’s something you want to address
at some point. So if you have a contract with a termite company,
you want to contact them as well and let them know where you are in the progression of work
so they coordinate their work with your contractor as they do repairs, because they can get that
treatment redone without disrupting the rest of the repair work, as well. So this house suffered some structural damage
as well from the floodwaters undermining the footer — that poured slab on which your foundation
sits. You can see the cracking all along this area
right here, and obviously that’s important in terms of the structural integrity of your
house but also because termites only need a gap about 1/32nd of an inch and they can
go from the soil up into the wall and start feasting on your studs as well as on the floor
system, as well. So you need to get up again with your pest
control service that does your termite work, have them coordinate their work with your
contractor as they do these repairs to your footer. OK, so this house has a termite baiting system
instead of a liquid treatment of the soil, and again if you think about it, a bait is
something that the insects — in this case, termites — are going to find attractive to
eat. Unfortunately, the floodwaters contain all
sorts of chemicals, from oils to gasoline to pesticides floating off, and they have
contaminated that bait station so the termites won’t feed on the bait at this point. So you again need to contact your termite
company, let them know about the flooding and they’ll come out and they’ll replace those
baits for you, and they shouldn’t charge you for that in most cases. If not, again, make sure you talk to your
insurance company about covering that cost. So as you are cleaning up of course you are
going to be making small piles of trash that hopefully will be discarded and carried away
fairly soon. But in the interim you’ve got to keep in mind
that as you make these piles, they can become home for unwanted pests, such as rodents,
snakes and other wildlife of that sort. As you can see in this pile here, we have
some discarded pet food and actually poultry feed. That’s going to be a sure attraction to things
like rodents, in particular raccoons and even opossums, so as you make these piles realize
that if you have to move any of these items, the longer they stay in place, the more likely
they’ve been occupied by something else, and you want to protect yourself always. Always when you are picking up anything like
this, wear gloves, and don’t stick them into a deep hole because something could be occupying
it. Just use a lot of common sense whenever you
start to move piles, especially if you are moving them into a truck to be taking them
to a landfill.

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