Record breaking rainfall across Oklahoma these past few weeks has caused flooding of homes and properties as well as a lot of grief for good people in our community. People everywhere are dealing with major cleanups in one hand while trying to protect themselves from more forecasted rain in the other. Unfortunately, there is something else that we may have to juggle in to all of this as well: Termites and guarding against a post-flood infestation of them in our homes. After a flood, many questions start to arise regarding termites and protection from them, so we thought we would take some time to answer a few of the more commonly asked questions.
Do termites even survive floods?
Termites do have trouble getting around when their tunnels are flooded but they can stay protected in their nests and sometimes they are able to move to higher ground if needed. They also have an amazing ability to enter into an immobile state to conserve oxygen, which may also help them to survive flooding.
How do floods affect the threat of termites?
Sorry to say that areas who have suffered from flooding may also see the termite threat increase after a few months. Once the water drains away, termites work quickly to repair their tunnels. Termites increase their population based on a number of factors including access to moisture and food sources. All of the moisture left in the soil after flooding makes digging and foraging that much easier for them. Floods also cause a build up of timber and tree debris after the water recedes, giving termites an easy food source. Once their food supplies and network of tunnels are re-established, termites will go exploring and testing the barriers around our homes.
Can existing termite systems be compromised after a flood?
Chemical treatments or barriers around existing structures can be compromised if the treated area has been covered by layers of debris and silt from the flooding. This material provides a way for termites to cross over the underlying treated soil and into homes. In some situations, treated soil can even be completely washed away by flood waters. Baiting systems in the ground are more resilient to rain and water build up, but major flooding can sometimes cause bait stations to wash away or to be completely covered with soil.
With all of the problems and worries that people have throughout storm cleanup and repairs, luckily there is no major need to rush to have houses immediately re-treated for termites. It will take the termites a little while to get back up to speed. We do strongly recommend getting an inspection and re-treatment done within 2-3 months following a flood. However, if a termite baiting system has noticeably been compromised, please call us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a professional from Arrow Exterminators to come take a look.