By Nic Ellis
From the August 2021 Issue
As the seasons change, so do pest management needs in and around facilities. While many think of pest season ending around Labor Day, the fall and winter seasons offer different pest pressures that need to be prioritized. From overwintering pests to rodents, these can easily become more than a nuisance. Meanwhile, the common idiom “it takes a village” holds true for pest management, too. While the service provider you hire use their expertise to keep your property pest-free, regular maintenance by the in-house facilities team is critical to the success of a pest management program. Following are several tips to guide your approach in evaluating your site for the fall and winter.
1. Prioritize Sanitation. Proper sanitation and regular cleanings are key to maintaining a pest-free environment. Keeping trash in receptacles with tight closing lids is one simple, yet effective, approach. Also, be clear on who is responsible for taking out trash and that a regular schedule be maintained.
2. Take Care of Dumpsters: Dumpsters should be kept as far from buildings as possible. Between the odors, the food, and excess water, dumpsters can provide food and shelter for some of the most troublesome pests like rodents and flies. That’s in addition to the usual heightened rodent activity during fall and winter months.
3. Keep it Clean: While maintaining sanitation, don’t forget about general cleaning. Wiping down counters, sweeping and vacuuming floors, and storing food in sealed containers help to minimize pest attractants. Ask occupants to wipe down individual work areas each day before they leave so dirt, dust, and grime can’t build up.
4. Seal the Perimeter: Gaps or holes in a structure provide entry points for pests to escape the colder weather and find shelter. Ask your team to keep windows, doors, and delivery sites closed as often as possible. Don’t forget about smaller entry points, as pests can fit into surprisingly small spaces. Ask your facilities team to report any potential entry points, so they or your service provider can address these quickly.
Questions To Ask Service Provider
A successful pest management program needs the support of a qualified expert. Here are some questions worth asking your provider as you prepare facilities for the fall and winter seasons:
1. How often should my building receive services? Regular inspections and upkeep are key to ensure your pest program is effective. Arrange routine services that work best with your schedule.
2. Which pests should we look out for? In the fall and winter, a building can face pest pressures from cluster flies, brown marmorated stink bugs, spiders, beetles, and boxelder bugs. Many of these pests are looking for places to hibernate. Heat escaping from beneath doors also attracts rodents. With local expertise, your provider should share insights on which pests to expect and any telltale signs of their activity.
3. How can you help prepare my property for the fall and winter? With their knowledge of the industry and regional pests, your provider can tailor a pest management approach, offering products and services that can help bolster protection.
4. What should we do if we spot signs of pest activity? Be sure you know how to contact your provider and what you can expect from them in terms of response time.
5. How can we make sure a previous problem doesn’t come back? With an understanding of your pest management history, your provider can help fortify efforts against known pest pressures. Paying extra attention to these areas and pests help keep previous problems from reoccurring.
By working closely with your provider and engaging in-house facilities teams, you will be on your way to a winter season without pest interruptions.
Ellis is a technical specialist and Board Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving commercial and residential clients in major Northeastern markets.
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