Certain insect problems increase dramatically after flooding, windstorms and other disasters, according to entomologists with the LSU AgCenter. "Homes are subject to fire ant problems during and after flooding," says LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dennis Ring, adding, "Fire ants often will float around in water and attach themselves to whatever is out of the water." |
"As floodwaters recede, higher grounds may become heavily infested with fire ants," Ring says. If these infested areas are where people will be living or working, entomologists say the areas can be treated with one of several baits either by broadcast treatment or by using about 1 tablespoon to 5 tablespoons per mound. They also can be treated with a drench treatment consisting of 1 tablespoon of 75 percent Orthene per 1 gallon of water or applying 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of the material per mound, the entomologists say.
Another problem that can follow flooding are large groups of wasps found in yards and around plants, says LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Dale Pollet, who explains the wasps feed on grubs in the soil.
"High water pushes these grubs closer to the soil surface, and they are more available to the wasps," Pollet explains, adding, however, that the wasps he saw during the state's last bout of major flooding were Tiphiids, which do not sting. "Whether they would sting is a major concern for people who see them in their yards, but they usually hover just over the surface, fly quickly and are very seldom observed landing. Other problems after flooding or storms also have been known to come from filth flies, blow flies and smoky brown cockroaches.
"Sanitation and cleanup are important in preventing the flies," Ring says. "If such problems occur, spray wall surfaces with malathion or other household insecticides. In kitchen areas, use space sprays that contain pyrethrins to kill flying insects."
Smoky brown cockroaches usually live outside and come inside to feed, according to entomologists.
"However, during heavy rain, they may invade houses in larger numbers," Pollet says. "Applications of insecticides containing permethrin may be made to infested areas and around doorways, windows and so forth on the outside."
Most labeled household insecticides will be effective against the smoky browns, the entomologists say, adding, however, that you may want to call a professional pest control operator for additional assistance in combating some of these pests.
Carpenter ants also will frequently infest broken limbs and invade houses from infested trees after a storm. These insects do not feed on wood but simply nest in the wood. In general, they are scavengers.
"Control of carpenter ants can be obtained by removing tree limbs and branches from roofs and making sure no limbs come in direct contact with the house," Ring says. "But if problems persist, it may be necessary to spray infested areas of the house with a 0.5 percent solution of malathion or use a bait."
In addition, the trunks of infested trees may require spraying to control the pests in the house, he says, adding that the bottom 1 foot to 2 feet of the house also may require spraying if problems persist.
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