Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. That’s the survivalist’s mantra. When gathering and storing resources for your family’s protection, it’s important to always have one eye on the worst case scenario. It’s also important to be realistic about where the biggest threats to your safety can come from. An attack can happen on any front. It isn’t just external forces, like inclement weather or threatening humans, that can do damage. In fact, the greatest threat may already be inside your home. All the weaponry and MRE’s in the world won’t save you from a rat infestation or a termite-infested subfloor. Here are four reasons why pest control should be at the top of your prepper to-do list.
Pests Can Do Serious Structural Damage
Termites eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most breeds swarm in early spring, looking for damp, dark locations to commence their feast. If that just happens to be your basement, then you have a real problem on your hands. Typically, termites cannot be treated by a homeowner alone, and a professional may require that everyone leave the house for a day or more while the house is treated. As with other pests, it only takes two to proliferate an infestation. That said, there are important steps you can take to avoid a termite infestation altogether. Start by doing everything you can to divert the flow of water away from your home, bunker or storage facility. Make sure your downspout and crawl space ventilation is functioning properly, and never let a rotting wooden board go without being replaced. Lastly, if your home is near trees, trim or cut back all branches that touch any vital structure. This goes for the roots as well. These are the bridges that can lead termites and other pests right to your front door.
Pests Destroy Resources
As Exterminator.com reports, rats don’t actually consume large amounts of food, but they tend to gnaw on everything and leave waste everywhere, which can contaminate a huge stash of food in no time. Rats have finely tuned survival instincts. They are always in search of an abundant, easily accessible food supply. They also breed very quickly, so if you spot one, it’s important to quickly set bait traps to keep your rodent problem from getting out of hand.
When planning ahead, remember that rats, mice and other rodents are typically not going to go anywhere that food isn’t readily available. That’s why they hang out in sewers and near trash bins. Make sure your food supply is well secured and properly stored. Always clean up every drop of spilled food, and discard your garbage and waste as far away from your living area as possible.
Pests Carry Diseases
Rodents don’t just ruin food supplies. They also carry diseases and viruses that can be transmitted to humans. Historically, rats have been responsible for a few large scale viral infestations, including the bubonic plague and the Sin Nombre hantavirus. Hantavirus is still a concern, and it can be nearly impossible to treat if emergency services are not readily available. In addition to protecting your food, you also want to work to develop strategies for checking your entire home for signs of an infestation. Rats are frightened by even the smallest changes in sound, light or temperature, making them very hard to spot during the early phase of an infestation. Look closely for rat droppings, and place bait traps near any opening that might serve as a point of entry.