In this El Nino year where weather around the country won’t be typical, the question arises, “How will this affect household pests?” A common myth is that floods or unusually cold weather eliminates household pests outdoors. But we have seen in the past, that pest populations are surprisingly resilient. Once the weather warms up, the surviving pests are ready to start invading again, sometimes with an apparent vengeance!
Floods force many pests to flee and spread out to new areas. The decaying organic material that floods leave behind also provides food for population explosions of pests like flies, rodents, and roaches. Mosquitoes also increase after rains and floods.
Rats and cockroaches are two pests that simply head to higher ground when flooding begins. Apparently they are able to detect the quick drop in barometric pressure which signals sudden downpours—weather records sometimes show they flee to higher grounds just before flooding actually starts.
It was once thought that flooding would eradicate termite colonies. But it turns out that termites don’t easily drown—they are able to shut down their body processes to reduce oxygen consumption. These are amazing weather survivors!
Not all pests can survive unusual cold spells, but some do it with ease. They may burrow into the ground where it is warmer. Many pests, including carpenter ants, survive because their bodies actually produce glycerol, a very effective antifreeze.
Once again, “primitive” insects and rodents are not only equipped to survive, they actually thrive in adverse conditions.