You may have heard people talking about El Nino and how it will impact various things. However, if you are like many of us, you only have a vague idea of El Nino and how it can affect many things. We will explain what El Nino is, how it changes the weather, and how those changes increase the risk of pest infestations in El Nino years.
What is El Nino?
El Nino means little boy in Spanish. That is because fishermen in South America were the first to name the weather phenomenon after noticing that water in the Pacific Ocean was sometimes hot. The phenomenon often occurred near Christmas in South America, so they called it El Nino de Navidad.
Usually, trade winds near the equator in the Pacific Ocean blow west. That transports warm water from South America towards Asia. Cold water upwells from the depths to replace that warm water. In El Nino, the trade winds are not as strong. Instead of pushing warm water toward Asia, they push it back towards North and South America.
El Nino is part of the typical weather pattern and occurs irregularly every two to seven years. Generally, it can last for 9 to 12 months. However, it may last for years. Furthermore, scientists do not yet know how climate change will impact its patterns.
El Nino’s Impact on Australia
Three oceans surround Australia- the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. However, while they are three distinct oceans, it is essential to remember that all of the world’s oceans are interconnected. So, a weather phenomenon that impacts one ocean can have impacts elsewhere, too.
In Australia, El Nino usually means hotter temperatures across the entire continent. It also leads to reduced rainfall, primarily in the east and north, where the continent borders the Pacific Ocean. These hotter, dryer temperatures make heat waves, drought, and bushfires more likely. El Nino does not guarantee these conditions. However, nine of Australia’s driest winter-spring periods happened during El Nino, as did most of Australia’s significant droughts.
El Nino’s Impact on Pests
The severity of El Nino’s impact on local weather determines how it impacts pests. Generally, in hotter, drier weather, pests will try to come inside to escape heat and, more importantly, to find water. This is especially true if bushfires destroy their natural habitats. So, you can expect to see an influx of pests in your homes and businesses.
Many people hope that the drier weather will reduce mosquito populations. While it is true that mosquitoes need water to breed, they do not require vast amounts of it. Even in drier conditions, they can still find plenty of water to lay their eggs.
The main issue is termites. In drought conditions, termites are even more likely to head inside buildings. The reason is water. Your taps and pipes, even the condensation on your indoor plumbing, can be valuable water sources for these pests. So, El Nino usually means more termite infestations.
Flick Can Help
Fortunately, we are well-versed in handling Australia’s changing pest conditions at Flick. We have addressed La Nina and El Nino-influenced pest waves. We watch weather patterns and pest reports to help us predict which pests will be a local problem, fine-tuning our treatment approach to keep you pest-free. Whether you have pests you need exterminated or simply want to prevent pests, contact Flick today.
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