What to Expect with Tropical Storms and Pests

What to Expect with Tropical Storms and Pests

Summer is a favorite time of year for residents of the Carolinas and Virginia. There is a lot of opportunity for fun in the sun and sand, letting the kids play outdoors, and enjoying our beautiful area. However, it is also a season of potentially volatile weather. 

The 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been quiet thus far, but that is to be expected from June through early August. It is around the time students begin returning to school that the ocean temperatures are their warmest. From late August through the middle of October, we are likely to see a number of storms form and threaten the East Coast.


How Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Impact The Piedmont Foothills and Mountains   

Longtime residents of the piedmont, foothills, and mountains know that hurricanes and tropical storms may lose a lot of their peak wind strength, but they can cause major problems well inland. Elevation can enhance rainfalls and wind speeds, even for weakening storms. 

The mountains and foothills are prone to landslides from heavy rain, rivers and creeks throughout the Carolinas, and Virginia will swell and spill their banks, and we can even experience tornadoes. Excessive rainfall and flooding is by far the most significant concern of inland tropical weather. High wind is next on the list. 

A few hurricanes and tropical storms that have battered our area in recent memory include: 

  • Hurricane Hugo – 1989
  • Hurricanes Fran -- 1996
  • Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd – 1999
  • Hurricane Frances – 2004
  • Hurricanes/Superstorm Sandy – 2012
  • Hurricane Matthew – 2016
  • Hurricanes Florence and Michael – 2018

That list is hardly exhaustive, but time would fail to discuss every tropical depression and system that has crossed our area in the last three decades. Yet, every one of them has contributed to pest infestations. In this article, we will discuss how tropical weather brings pests to your property and what you can do about it.

Tropical Systems Inevitably Lead to Pest Infestations

When you are preparing for and living through the inland remnants of a hurricane or tropical storm in the area, it may be as simple as a soggy day or two, or as harrowing as evacuating a flooding home. However, it is when the skies clear that you may find yourself dealing with a pest or wildlife infestation. 

From mosquitoes to termites and ants to rodents, your home and property are likely to be invaded by unwanted guests. It may be inevitable.

What Pests Can You Expect to Find After Hurricanes and Tropical Storms?

Many of the pests we deal with after storms are the same ones we deal with throughout the rest of summer. It’s just that they are more prevalent after heavy rainfall and high winds impact our area. 

1. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are among the most common summer pests in our area, regardless of the weather. They can be found in pretty much any yard in the Carolinas and Virginia, but they thrive when there is excess moisture and standing water. 

Standing water is often in abundance after even the tamest tropical system. Rain from the remnants of a hurricane will exasperate even the slightest drainage or moisture issue. 

2. Termites

Termites are one of the most dreaded pests. Like mosquitoes, their presence can be felt anytime, but excess moisture will only attract them and give them what they need to thrive.

Indoor flooding and water damage beckon termites to invade and make a meal of your home’s wood. Fallen trees, limbs, and other debris can provide the transportation and cover they need to get inside. You have to be on the lookout for termites after the storm.

3. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants can be a problem like before the storm, but like other pests, moisture and water damage make your home attractive. Their presence may not cause as much destruction as termites, but that doesn't mean it won't be costly. They can make a small issue much bigger. 

4. Carpenter Bees

The wind and rain can cause all sorts of disruption for pests like carpenter bees. A little bit of damage to the wood surfaces around your home may attract carpenter bees, even if you've never had them previously. Watch out for these pests and take care of them before they dig holes in your external wood. 

5. Flies

Flies can be a significant annoyance after a tropical system:

  • Storms can cause you to stay at home for days and create more trash.
  • Storms may disrupt trash pick-up or your opportunity to take it to the convenience center.
  • Storms can cause power outages that lead to spoiled food.
  • Storms can cause debris to pile up that attracts flies.

Beware of an influx of flies after a storm. 

6. Spiders

Much like many other pests, the disruption and moisture brought by storms can attract spiders to your home. Be on the lookout for signs of the venomous spiders that make their homes in dark and moist spaces like black widows, false black widows, yellow sac spiders, and brown recluses.

7. Roaches

Roaches can survive and thrive during almost any event, so don't expect them to be deterred by a little wind and rain. If they get the sense that you have some excess trash around after the storm, they will see it as an open invitation to invade your home. 

Why Are Pests Worse After Tropical Weather?

rodents after storm

There are several reasons infestations are increased by tropical storms and hurricanes:

  • Standing Water: The remnants of Hurricane Florence (September 2018) left a lot of standing water that hardly had time to evaporate before the remnants of Michael (October 2018) brought in excess of half a foot more rainfall. Standing water is a breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes.
  • Sinking Air: On the heels of tropical storms in our area, we typically experience an influx of heat and humidity that meteorologists call “sinking air.” This leads to late summer or early fall insurgence of annoying pests.
  • Indoor Moisture: Many pests are attracted to moisture. If your basement, crawlspace, attic, or other parts of your home are given to high humidity and excess moisture after a storm, you may see an influx of termites, ants, beetles, silverfish, and other pests.
  • Power Outages: If you go any length of time without electricity, the heat and humidity in your home can attract new pests, as well as spoiled food and other power outage-related issues, which may attract bugs, ants, and termites.
  • Flooding: If you were unfortunate enough to experience flooding in any part of your home, you might well be dealing with an insect or pest infestation.
  • Storm Damage: If you experience roof damage, broken windows, or siding, pests and wildlife might enter your home to seek shelter from the elements.

You May Also Find Rodents and Other Wildlife

It’s not just insects and pests you’ll find after the storm. You may be dealing with an invasion of wildlife. Some of the unwanted animals you can find after tropical weather impacts our area includes:

  • Squirrels
  • Mice and rats
  • Opossums 
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes

Why is wildlife more prevalent after tropical weather?

There are several reasons tropical weather can cause your property to be invaded by wildlife:

  • Flooding: Animals of all kinds can seek shelter from flooding in and around your home and property.
  • Wind: If it's not the flooding, it could be the wind that drives wildlife to find refuge on your property. 
  • Damage: Wind, rain, landslides, and sinkholes may damage wildlife habitats in nearby woodlands, causing animals to flee to your property.
  • Food: The disruptions and damage storms cause to your life may lead your property to have excessive food for wildlife. Pests attracted by trash may, in turn, attract rodents. The presence of rodents may attract snakes. 

Regardless of the reasons you have wildlife, you need to have it safely and humanely removed.

What Can Homeowners Do to Reduce the Threat of Pests?

reduce threat of pests

There are a few things you can do before the storm to reduce the threat of pests and unwanted wildlife, including:

  • Repair any existing home damage before the door
  • Clean your gutters and remove debris from your roof
  • Ensure adequate drainage on your property
  • Ensure proper ventilation in your basement or crawlspace
  • Have professionals remove dead trees and threatening limbs

Choosing the Right Exterminator 

Even if you prepare as well as possible, you still may face increased pest activity after tropical weather. You may need to reach out to a professional exterminator with experience controlling pest infestations after tropical weather. 

“Rid-A-Bug Exterminating, Inc. has been family-owned and operated since its establishment in 1972. For five decades, we have provided the highest quality exterminating to the area while maintaining excellent customer service.” - How to Choose the Right Exterminator

Rid-A-Bug is ready to help you with unwanted extermination services for unwanted pests and humane wildlife removal. We have seen our share of storms and the pest infestations they bring. We are typically able to take care of the problem within 24 hours of your call. When tropical weather brings the pests inside, contact Rid-A-Bug to get them out.

More in this category: Common Late Summer Pests  »