A Greener Approach to Pest Management

Avoid the chemicals by planning ahead

A Greener Approach to Pest Management

Office and commercial properties are under increasing pressure to take responsibility for their environmental footprint and ensure that sustainable practices—from energy efficiency to water conservation—are in place. Facilities must consider the impact their current decisions have on the environment, and how to start implementing solutions that will preserve a better future.

When it comes to pest control, going green includes implementing proactive, preventive measures that either eliminate or reduce the conditions that are attractive to pests. These proactive measures can help prevent pest activity and minimize dependency on chemicals. This approach, known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), is crucial to ensuring your facility stays on the road to preventing pest activity on an ongoing basis.

Take the environmentally responsible approach to protecting your building by implementing the following tips:

Build a strong partnership with your pest management provider. Your relationship with your pest management provider should surpass typical vendor status. Your pest management provider should be a partner who takes the time to design an IPM program specifically for your property, adjusting the plan over time as pest pressure and your pest management needs evolve.

Keep your pest management professional updated when something changes at the facility that may alter the effectiveness of the IPM program, such as a change in your property’s waste disposal schedule. An effective IPM plan also requires a higher standard of scientific expertise, including knowledge of pest biology, pest behavior, and the latest green technology in the industry, so it’s important that your provider is proficient in these areas.

Educate staff on basic IPM knowledge, roles, and protocol. Because pest pressure can be detrimental to your business’ reputation, it’s crucial to include your employees in pest management efforts to strengthen your defense. More eyes looking out for pests—and more individuals aware of the potential outcomes of unknowingly bringing pests into the facility on their belongings—will increase the likelihood of spotting a problem before an infestation gains ground in your building.

Your whole team needs to know what to look for and how to report any potential pest activity or conditions that could be conducive to pest activity. Here is how you can help prepare them:

  • Work with your pest management provider to host IPM training for your staff to help them gain an understanding of your IPM program and their role in preventing and controlling pest activity.
  • Consider assigning each employee to a specific pest-management role based on their daily responsibilities. For example, a person who handles sanitation should monitor for and clean any liquid or product spills that could attract pests.

Use methods of prevention and exclusion. The most effective way to manage pests actually occurs before they gain access to your facility. Lock down potential entry points, such as high-traffic entrances, to deter pests from making their way inside by using the following tactics:

  • Seal any unnecessary holes and cracks in floors, walls, and ceilings with weather-resistant sealant.
  • Install weather stripping around doors and windows; change the stripping regularly to close any gaps that may develop.
  • Trim overhanging branches, and cut back bushes and plants to create at least a two-foot buffer around your facility.
  • Instead of mulch, which can harbor pests, consider installing a gravel strip around your facility’s perimeter. Gravel strips can act as a deterrent for rodents, which do not like to cross open, vulnerable areas.

Implement a strict sanitation regimen. One of the most important components of effective IPM is rigorous sanitation. This regimen keeps your building clean and reduces the elements that initially attract pests, including food and water sources and harborage areas. Make your facility less appealing to insects and rodents by using the following tips to reduce pests’ access to these resources:

  • Create a schedule to sweep and hose down parking lots and walkways.
  • Keep garbage tightly covered and remove it from your facility daily.
  • Work with your waste management company to clean or rotate dumpsters out for clean ones on a regular basis.
  • Dumpsters are a hot spot for a variety of pests because they can be an instant source of food. They should be located as far away from the exterior of your facility as possible.
  • Disinfect drains with an organic cleaner to prevent grease, buildup, and debris that can clog the drain and attract pests. Consider using the same organic cleaner to sanitize dumpsters, as well.
  • Remove unused boxes and equipment, giving pests one less place to hide and reproduce.

Continue to monitor for ongoing pest activity. Monitoring is the key to determining the best strategies for your IPM program, including the most effective placement of traps and other pest management devices. Monitoring should occur on an ongoing basis by both your staff and your pest management provider through regular inspections.

IPM programs are comprehensive, well-documented, and dynamic. They should change over time as necessary based on pest trends and activity, facility conditions, and seasonality.


Posted On July 3, 2015

Ron Harrison

Director of Technical Services for Orkin

Ron Harrison, entomologist, Ph.D., is director of technical services for Orkin. He is an acknowledged leader in the field of pest management with more than 30 years of experience. Contact Dr. Harrison at or for more information, visit

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A Greener Approach to Pest Management
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