How to Maintain Rodent Control in Debris Fields After Hurricane Destruction

wild wood mouse

Hurricane Maria battered the island of Puerto Rico with such severe winds that many ground-level homes were totally decimated, power lines were wiped out almost instantly, and families were barely holding on. Aid workers rushed in to help.

One of the unexpected challenges that those aid workers faced was mice and rats in the fields. Displaced Puerto Rican families found black rats, brown rats, and house mice among the debris that was once their homes and backyards.

Unfortunately, these rodents can carry with them bacterial diseases and viruses that can make a difficult situation that much worse. Some Puerto Ricans are allergic to mice, and rodents, in general, can cause breathing issues for some children and older adults.

Rodent Control in Hurricane Maria’s Aftermath

Rodents prefer somewhere warm, safe, and with a decent amount of food lying around. In normal circumstances, they might try to find their way into your home’s walls or cupboards. After the hurricane, though, that all changed. Rodents like mice and rats moved to debris fields.

If forced, rodents will hide among rubbish, trash, or heavy vegetation. Mice and rats are even known to hide underneath buildings or among wood piles. Droppings, signs of gnawing or scratch marks, and signs of burrowing among debris are sure signs that rodents have been around.

  • Avoid Compost Heaps and Secure Rubbish

Cleaning up the pieces after a hurricane is difficult enough. Making the effort to look after your neighbors and protect the community’s health, though, with everyone pitching in just a little as far as rodent control can make a huge difference.

If you see any food items, wrappers, or half-eaten fruit cores or vegetables on the ground, then try to dispose of those properly. Mice and rats are both pretty omnivorous and opportunistic when it comes to their scavenging habits. Where possible, try to dispose of all of your trash in a tightly lidded container and avoid compost piles.

Piles of trash aren’t the only places where rodents can thrive, eat, and hide. Piles of bricks, wood, or even heavy undergrowth can all be places were rodents hide and make their way from one area to another.

Try to move around piles of debris—or, ideally, pick it up and place it far above the ground—so that rodents can’t use it for cover. Cutting heavy undergrowth or trimming trees and shrubs that can allow rodents to climb up and enter a dwelling are also good ideas.

  • Long-term Ways to Keep Rodents Away

Whether you’re able to move back to your home, start rebuilding, or you’re currently living in a community center after the hurricane, there are a few basic principles that you can follow to keep everyone safe.

To keep rodents away, ensure that doors, garages, crawlspaces, and vent covers have weatherstripping or caulking applied around the edges if they’re not completely secure already. Mice can fit through an area as small as a coin so they don’t need much room to enter your home or community facility.

If you’re rebuilding after Hurricane Maria, then use strong sealants like caulk, putty, copper stuffing, expanding foam, or cement to plug up any gaps. Some people are surprised to hear that steel wool can be used to plug up a hole temporarily.

Moving from preventive steps that you can take to more proactive measures and professional rodent control, make sure to contact Oliver Exterminating Services. Using baiting material or disposing of rodents may not be safe or effective if you don’t have the proper training, and Oliver has been around since 1956 and are true professionals. Contact Oliver Exterminating today to find out what we can do for you and your rodent problem.