California’s Central Valley has hot summers and modest annual precipitation. However, our weather is very dynamic. We experience a variety of extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, or severe droughts.
Serious storms can cause destructive flooding. But, most people overlook one major factor that can contribute to long-term property damage: pest infestations. By significantly altering their natural habitat, severe weather conditions can push pests out of their homes and into yours. Understanding how extreme weather attracts pests can help you protect your property from infestations.
How Weather Influences Pests’ Behavior
Most rodents and insects rely heavily on their surroundings to survive. So, any rapid change in their environment will have a lasting impact on their regular habits. That said, it’s important to note that each species is different. Some pests thrive in hot and dry conditions, while others need moisture and cool shade to survive. Here are the two main environmental factors that influence pest behavior:
Many pests depend on annual temperature patterns to provide behavior cues for key parts of their life cycle. For example, many insects will begin reproducing when the weather warms up in late spring or summer, and most rodents will seek shelter and start nesting as things cool off in the early fall. A sudden dip or spike in the temperature during a severe weather event could alter pest behavior by:
- Heightening pest aggression: Though some pests thrive in warm environments, extreme heat can dry out the landscape. Without moisture, the pests may die off or become desperate for survival. In their desperation, certain species – such as wasps – may become more aggressive toward humans.
- Growing certain pest populations: Here in Modesto, heat waves are a pretty common occurrence – especially in the summer. Some pests thrive in warm conditions, which could cause them to become more active or reproduce longer into the season.
- Increasing indoor infestations: When it gets severely hot or cold, rapid weather changes may encourage pests to seek shelter indoors. Since our homes and businesses are temperature controlled, they become the ideal hiding place for pests who are unable to survive in the harsh outdoor conditions.
- Decreasing pest populations: Insects are heavily influenced by temperature, largely because they are ectothermic and unable to produce any body heat of their own. For that reason, a large number of insects may die off during freezing conditions. While this can help control the populations of some unwanted pests, such as mosquitoes, it could also negatively impact the local environment by killing off beneficial critters such as bumblebees.
From November to March, many areas in California experience serious rainfall. Particularly if the rain leads to flooding, these types of storms may lead to a sudden increase in insect and rodent activity. Excess water can influence pest behavior by:
- Washing away or destroying nests: Even if the flooding doesn’t seem severe to you, a small stream of water is all it takes to flood out an ant nest or mouse burrow. Any displaced pests will search for shelter elsewhere, which could lead them into your property.
- Providing a place for some species to breed: Mosquitoes only require a half-inch of stagnant water to reproduce. Puddles leftover from heavy rainfall could provide the perfect environment for these types of pests to thrive, leading to a sharp increase in their populations.
Summers here are long, hot, and dry. Though many of our local pests have adapted to withstand the heat, they still need water to survive. Droughts can kill off pests that don’t have access to water, and the dryness may ultimately lead to more indoor infestations. During a drought, our homes have more water than the rest of the environment. From leaky pipes to lawn sprinklers, it’s important to be aware that any moisture could attract a whole slew of pests when it’s dry outside.
How to Prevent Pests During Extreme Weather
Pests can be a major issue for home and business owners. From property damage to health risks, uninvited pests are the last thing you want to deal with after a serious storm. Though extreme weather can attract pests to your property, there are several steps you can take to prevent them from getting indoors:
- Replace ripped window or door screens
- Repair worn-out or cracked weather stripping
- Seal off any cracks or gaps that lead into your home
- Repair leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or other plumbing issues
- Get professional pest control services
Infestations can be stressful to deal with any time, but they are particularly difficult to handle on top of a serious storm. If you want help protecting your property from pests no matter the weather, turn to the experts at Insect IQ! With over 20 years of experience serving the Modesto area, our highly trained technicians know how to handle any local rodents or insects that you may be dealing with. We strive to deliver reliable, long-lasting results that you can depend on. Get your free quote today!