Summer storms have been popping up across the country for the past few months.
These summer showers can cause an increase in humidity and standing water on your property, and create an ideal environment for pests such as mosquitoes and rodents to thrive.
Also, with the downpour going on outside, your building may look like prime real estate for pests seeking shelter from the rain.
The increase in pest populations associated with summer rains can pose serious health risks to your tenants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes so far in 2013, including 14 cases in humans and two deaths from this mosquito borne disease.
Also, rodents are known to spread more than 35 diseases worldwide through bites, contact with feces, urine or saliva or by handling the pest.
Knowing how to identify, treat and prevent infestations is essential to protecting your health, property, reputation — and your bottom line.
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a proactive approach to stopping pest problems before they start.
By consulting with a pest management professional, and adding a few simple steps to your regular maintenance routine, you can help keep rodents and mosquitoes from taking your building by storm this summer.
When it comes to rodents, here are a few tips for how to spot an infestation:
- Droppings – A telling sign of a rodent infestation is visible droppings. Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice, and rat droppings are the size of a raisin. Be sure to educate your staff on what to look for.
- Gnaw marks – Rodents can squeeze through small openings, so look for holes around doors or utility penetrations that appear to be chewed or gnawed at the edges.
- Rub markings – Rodents feel protected when they can crawl along a wall. Look for greasy markings along walls, conduits and support beams inside your facility that indicate a rodent is regularly traveling along the same path.
- Live or dead pests – The best evidence is spotting an actual pest. You may also consider asking your pest management professional to place tamper-resistant bait stations around the exterior of your building to monitor for rodent activity. Baits need to be enclosed in weatherproof/tamper-resistant stations that are kept away from public areas.
Both rodents and mosquitoes are attracted to the standing water left behind after a summer shower and will readily enter nearby buildings through any available opening.
While you can’t control the weather, you can take action to make your building less attractive to these pests by following a few simple steps:
- Sweep or mop up any standing water around your establishment. Typical sites include planters and flowerpots, clogged roof gutters and rainwater puddles in parking lots.
- Install screens on vents where needed and seal cracks and crevices around your building’s exterior with weather-resistant sealant and add metal mesh to prevent rodents from gnawing through.
- Trim all vegetation back two to three feet from the side of the building and consider installing a 30-inch wide gravel strip around your exterior, since rodents typically avoid being out in the open.
- If you have any ponds or fountains on your property, a pest management professional can treat the water to help disrupt the early stages of the mosquito life cycle.
Regardless of whether you’ve seen torrential downpours or arid heat, summer is peak pest season, so it’s important to be extra vigilant in your maintenance and sanitation routines.
Talk with your pest management professional about implementing an IPM program to help prevent pests from taking up residence in your facility.
Patrick Copps is technical services manager for Orkin’s Pacific Division. A Board Certified Entomologist in urban and industrial entomology, Copps has more than 35 years experience in the industry. For more information, email opps at PCopps@Orkin.com or visit www.OrkinCommercial.com.