Tips on dealing with insects and critters after the floods

Are you experiencing an increase of insects and other unwanted animals as a result of the epic flooding of 2013? Insects and small animals need shelter just like the rest of us. Unfortunately, the shelter they choose may be your home.

All of these life forms are trying to meet three basic needs: finding shelter, something to eat, and a source for water. There are many things you can do to diminish or eliminate these unwanted house guests. If a pesticide is used, use the least toxic product to minimize risks to people, pets and the environment. Try these steps first:

For the little guys, such as flies, cockroaches, mosquitos, bed bugs, carpenter ants, wasps:
1. Identify the pest you are dealing with.
2. Thoroughly clean your home. Properly wipe all surfaces and clean up food and liquid spills immediately.
3. Remove trash and water damaged materials from your home immediately.
4. Do not leave pet food (or any food) out and uncovered.
5. Vacuum visible signs (spider webs and other signs of bug infestation).
6. Don’t provide hiding places. Remove clutter.
7. Basements and crawl spaces often provide insects with their first home when traveling in from the outside. Check these areas thoroughly.
8. The smallest amount of moisture can sustain insects for a long time. Make certain you have thoroughly dried and ventilated all areas of your home.

For the larger pests, such as mice, rats, raccoons, skunks:
1. Follow all of the above.
2. Spend the time to look outside your home for structural damage that can provide entrances. Repair these immediately. If this is not possible, cover these areas with steel wool, copper mesh or appropriately-sized boards. Foam sealants can also come in handy.
3. Using humane rodent traps is a humane way to catch and remove these larger animals.

Additional information and resources on how to control pest problems in ways that are safe for human and environmental health can be found at and

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