As the harsh bite of winter yields to warm breezes and pleasant temperatures, it’s time for a thorough spring cleaning of your pest management program.
Rising temperatures also mean a rise in pest populations, and dusting off your facility’s strategy for combatting pests is essential to making sure tenants and guests are the only ones enjoying the budding spring weather on your property.
From cockroaches and ants to flies and other stinging insects, pests are often drawn out of their winter slumber by a number of factors
Normal things like the increase in foot traffic and the constant exchange between the indoors and outdoors opens up more opportunities for pests to enter a building.
Additionally, landscaping activity picks up in the spring, which can disturb some pest populations and cause them to seek new accommodations.
Spring showers can also leave behind standing water with the potential to do more than just damage sidewalks, flood flowerbeds or jeopardize foundations; stagnant water is a guaranteed way to attract pests.
Implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) program can help you keep spring pests frozen in time by utilizing proactive techniques to prevent infestations rather than relying on reactive chemical treatments.
Focusing on preventive sanitation and facility maintenance, an IPM program works to reduce the food, water and shelter pests need to survive.
Work with your pest management professional to incorporate routine maintenance and sanitation practices into your overall facility plan.
Also, it is a good idea to train your staffs to identify signs of pest activity so they are armed with the knowledge to discourage infestations from occurring.
If you are ever unsure about a particular pest or are completely overwhelmed by an issue, remember that a qualified pest management professional is willing and able to provide any necessary guidance to you and your workforce.
The following are some of the most common warm weather pests to watch out for, along with spring cleaning tips to help prevent each from invading your facility.
Flying And Stinging Pests
While the cold weather wipes out most flying and stinging pests, spring offers perfect conditions for them to reemerge and start pestering your tenants again.
Flies can carry up to half-a-billion microbes on their bodies, shedding pathogens like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella, which pose serious food safety risks and dangers of infection in dining areas.
Stinging pests also threaten your property, as they can cause allergic reactions ranging from swelling to anaphylactic shock.
By implementing some of these tips, you can deter these pests from bothering your facility:
- Line all exterior trashcans and keep them securely sealed when not in use
- Wash down trashcans regularly to help prevent any lingering debris or odors
- Keep landscape plants and water sources like fountains away from where people congregate
- Mop up, sweep away or otherwise dry any puddles, as mosquitoes are particularly attracted to stagnant water
- If you are replacing lighting near the building, install bulbs that use sodium vapor, which are less attractive to pests
- Place lampposts or other bright lights away from the building so that pests are attracted away from possible areas of entry
- Install air curtains and ensure positive airflow — as opposed to being drafty, the indoor air flows out of and away from your building — to direct pests out the door and help prevent them from returning to your establishment.
Ants And Cockroaches
Cockroaches and ants love warmer weather, and they also love to congregate where filth and food debris collect.
You should always consult with your pest management professional to determine the best treatment approach for roaches and ants, especially given the many varieties and problems they can cause.
But, by heeding these suggestions and adding them to your regular maintenance program, you can help prevent a full-blown infestation:
- Cockroaches only need a 1/16-inch opening to enter a building, so be sure to seal any cracks and crevices in the outer walls with weather-resistant sealant
- Install door sweeps under doors and weather stripping around both doors and windows to further eliminate any entry points
- Keep your facility clean with a written sanitation plan that you routinely follow to reduce potential food and water sources
- Eliminate debris and food waste around the exterior of your building, which includes encouraging tenants and coworkers to clean up after enjoying an outdoor meal
- Wash down outdoor areas — including sidewalks, parking lots, tables, benches, waste receptacles, signage and any other site amenities — to eliminate gum, spills, crumbs and other debris that might attract pests to your facility
- Avoid standing water, which creates a breeding source for flies and mosquitoes and a source of hydration for birds or other potentially unwanted guests.
Humans are far from the only species that find allure in the warmth of spring: Rats, mice and other rodents also jump into action, foraging for food and water whenever and wherever they can find it.
Among the most destructive of all pests to invade your property, rodents can contaminate food, spread diseases and even gnaw through electrical wiring or walls.
Here are a few ways to help keep mice, rats and their rodent relatives from finding their way into your facility:
- Maintain landscaping, as vegetation and mulch can serve as a suitable home for rodents and other pests while providing an insulated and covered habitat
- Clear gutters and drains to keep hiding spots for mice or breeding areas for other pests to a minimum
- Trim trees and hedges so they no longer contact your building’s façade to eliminate rats using limbs as bridges onto your roof or elsewhere
- Consider installing a three-foot-wide gravel strip around the base of your building to discourage rodents who prefer to stay under cover — as opposed to darting away in search of a more suitable shelter, even if only temporary — when danger approaches
- Fit any openings around pipes and drains with copper mesh to prevent rodents and other problem pests from easily entering your building
- Empty trashcans and receptacles for recyclables daily while keeping dumpsters far away from your building to discourage rodent encroachment.
IPM Is The Answer
Establishing a comprehensive approach to facilities maintenance is crucial to ensuring minimized pest pressure during the spring months, throughout summertime and into the early days of autumn.
An IPM program that is implemented by a qualified pest management professional and designed with your unique criteria in mind can help you identify the right approach for your property’s needs.
A regimented pest management program implemented under your guidance while utilizing the expertise of your pest management professional can reduce the impact your facility has on both people and the environment.
By adding a few extra and easily implementable steps to your maintenance routine, you can help sweep pests out of sight and out of mind this spring.