Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Proactive Pest Control

September 19, 2010

Whether they welcome themselves into your facility or onto the surrounding grounds or are brought in with flowers, food or other items, pesky pests can be a source of persistent problems.

By identifying which pests are common in your region and their modes of operation, a possible infestation can be conquered.

An argument commonly heard from building owners is, "We don''t need a pest control plan because we don''t have any problem pests."

Well, the reason there are no pests is because the prevention plan in place is functioning properly.

Eliminate the pest control prevention plan or scale it back and those birds, bats, mice and other bugs with exoskeletons and thoraxes will swoop down and come marching into your facility.

Eliminate The Problem At Its Source

While it is human nature to react to situations, pest control experts recommend being proactive in your approach.

By implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, elements that could make your establishment attractive to pests — readily available sources of food, water and shelter — are reduced and make your facility or grounds less fitting for pests'' needs.

"I like to compare IPM to taking vitamins for your health — it''s a lot easier to prevent a cold on the front end than treating once you have it," states Dr. Ron Harrison, director of technical services for Orkin LLC. "Through proactive measures, IPM helps reduce the need for pesticide applications and other reactive measures."

By adhering to the proactive IPM approach, potentially toxic chemical and pesticide treatments are used only as a last resort, which lessens the chance of adverse health effects to end-users and building occupants alike.

Who Should Handle The Problem?

Because it is not always feasible for all facilities to pay the salary and benefits of an in-house pest control expert, many are outsourcing the work to licensed and reputable companies.

And, with the ever-changing pesticide regulations and laws, the necessary education and constant training to keep an in-house pest control expert abreast to the latest in product formulations and application could become costly and time-consuming.

"If you are business who performs pest control, you must possess a pest control business license," opines Robert Jess, owner of RJ Cleaning Service Inc.

In addition, the licensed applicator must pass examinations from their state Department of Agriculture.

"We are not licensed for pest control, so we don''t do it," says Ed Samson, owner of Ameri-Clean Commercial Inc.

Failure to obtain the proper licensing and documentation proving that a worker is proficient could add to the cost of an in-house pest control expert.

"If you currently have your pest control in-house, you may be surprised to know that outsourcing could save you money and time," notes Harrison. "A trained, licensed pest management professional will have the expertise and know-how for your environment. He or she should provide customized solutions for your establishment and even value-added resources like staff training to help prevent pests."

Greening Pest Control

According to Harrison, there are several ways to make your pest control program greener.

The following are a few examples:

  • A key component of a green program is thorough documentation, which allows your pest management provider to track trends and proactively take preventive measures

  • In addition, fly lights, sticky boards, pheromone traps, insect growth regulators, repellents and desiccants, non-toxic baits, organic cleaners and exclusion are all ways to prevent pests without the need for toxic pesticide applications

  • Trimming back trees and shrubs from the side of the building will help prevent pests'' access.

Another way to make your pest control prevention plan more sustainable is through constant communication.

By identifying pest hot spots in and around your facility, you help your pest control expert target certain areas rather than forcing them to blanket a large swath with pesticides.

It is also crucial that a dialogue be started with your pest control expert to establish goals and determine what green pest control means to all parties.

Tips To Consider

"To help prevent pests, focus on exclusion, sanitation, property maintenance and staff involvement," proclaims Harrison.

When establishing a pest control prevention plan or updating an existing one, it is prudent to perform a facility walk-through with a certified pest management professional who can identify weak areas in your building''s or landscaping''s defenses.

Any holes in building facades or cracks in floors and walls should be filled and sealed off to eliminate areas of access for pests.

Plants should not be too close to buildings and landscaping should be well-groomed to discourage pests from taking residence there.

If a contractor provides pest control at your facility, it is important to report to them any pest sightings or other developments in a timely manner so that they can be properly dealt with.

If you have an in-house pest control expert, make sure they address matters as soon as they are identified.

"Year-round monitoring, documentation and communication help to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of your service," concludes Harrison.