Pest Control: Breeding ground for bugs after heavy rains

Pest Control: Breeding ground for bugs after heavy rains
Source: Havard Pest Control
Fire ant mound. Source: Havard Pest Control
Fire ant mound. Source: Havard Pest Control
Source: Havard Pest Control
Source: Havard Pest Control

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Now that most of the Pine Belt is drying out after heavy rain from Tropical Storm Cindy, residents may have a new battle with bugs in their homes and yards.

"The sun comes out, everything starts getting really active trying to find a new nesting spot, unfortunately our homes is that spot."

Norman Louviere is a Regional Manager and Associated Certified Entomologist.  He said the company always sees an increase in calls for services after wet weather.

"It's a variety of different insects that become more active because they are stressed out from the rain," Louviere said.  "Roaches, silverfish, earwigs, centipedes will come out of the woodwork."

A big and potentially painful problem in the south is fire ants.  The Alabama Cooperative Extension System warned residents Wednesday about the floodwater and the state's invasive fire ant population.  The floodwaters chase the ants from their ground colonies, forcing them to survive by clinging to each other until they reach higher ground or debris.  The floating fire ants can then be a surprise for residents as the water recedes.

"Once the water starts lowering, these fire ants could be hidden underneath piles of debris. People who go to move that could meet a mess a fire ants and end up getting bit," said Louviere.

Louviere suggest using tools and wearing gloves if you are moving things around your yard after heavy rain events.

Those tips, important for residents who are urged to dump any standing water around their home or business to avoid a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"If they are left stagnant for a little bit of time, the mosquitoes will start laying their eggs in there and start breeding," Louviere said.

Experts say it only takes a bottle cap of water to breed 300 mosquitoes.  It's important for residents to always dump any water in bird baths, children's toys, wheelbarrows, tires or any other items in their yard that may hold water.

Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Use insect repellent: Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
    • IR3535
    • 2-undecanone
  • Cover up: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Keep mosquitoes outside: Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.