By Joe Magyar
The fall season is an important time for facility managers to evaluate their pest management strategies. Pests tend to adapt to the cooler outdoor temperatures and dwindling food sources outside by migrating inside. Pests have the potential to damage inventory, pose regulatory challenges, and create dissatisfactory working conditions for employees. The five most common types of pests that impact businesses are rodents, cockroaches, stored product pests (moths, weevils, beetles and others), flies and ants, according to data from Terminix Commercial.
Facility managers may benefit from using the changing season as an opportunity to revisit their pest management strategy and ensure they’re prepared for the particular pests they are likely to encounter in the fall and winter months.
Control access points. Inspect physical entry points to the facility. This will help prevent pests from entering when the climate shifts outside. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends sealing any hole with a diameter larger than a pencil to prevent rodents from entering. Rodents can chew through structural components such as electrical wiring, drywall, and potentially introduce allergens. The sign of one mouse signals it is time to call in a professional. One female mouse can have up to 35 offspring per year.
Know where and what to inspect. Pests are very crafty at keeping their presence hidden. Establish routine inspections for signs of an infestation throughout the facility, even hidden spaces such as drains and pipes. For example, cockroaches need moisture to survive and often travel into facilities through dark pipes that provide a steady supply of hydration. Some cockroaches are extremely prolific breeders — so it’s crucial to catch an infestation early. They will likely flee at the first sign of trouble. Because they are nocturnal, it can be challenging to find them. There are many signs of pest infestations, including bite or chew marks on furniture or other objects, droppings, or physical sightings of the pests themselves. A pest management professional can help demystify the disparate and often confusing warning signs.
Implement thorough and frequent sanitation protocols. Effective sanitation can build a strong foundation for facilities’ pest management strategies. Task employees with regular cleaning of common areas, and emphasize removing food and beverages — even crumbs. In autumn months, many businesses begin to experience challenges with spiders. Regularly cleaning and maintaining facilities can reduce spider webs.
Remember, it’s a team effort. Proactively identifying and resolving pest challenges is a big job, and requires partnership among janitorial, facilities, and pest management staff. Facility managers should ensure their teams are aware of the pests that are most active in their area and can identify them, and can look to their pest management provider for assistance. If a pest problem is identified, facility managers should alert others on the team to ensure that it can be property addressed and any challenges can be rectified.
By following these steps and ensuring effective communication with pest management partners, facility managers can help protect their relationship with customers, ensure a comfortable and clean workplace for employees, and safeguard their investments.
Magyar is a regional training manager for Terminix, a provider of pest control services headquartered in Memphis, TN.