Summer is an extremely busy time of year for commercial facility managers. From landscape maintenance to structural repairs, managers have a lot on their plate and it is important that nothing slips—especially pest control.
Summer is peak pest season, and therefore it is imperative for facility managers to make a plan for pest prevention and address pest issues before they arise.
Summer Pest Threats
Understanding the pests that frequently invade commercial facilities and the threats they pose can help facility managers identify and address any issues that may occur before an infestation has a chance to take hold. Summer is the high season for various pests, including ants, mosquitoes, ticks, termites, cockroaches and stinging insects. These pests often seek out commercial facilities and their surrounding property as they provide food, shelter and moisture these pests need to survive.
These pests can cause serious issues for commercial facilities; for example, cockroaches can contaminate food and are known to spread many diseases to humans, including E. coli and Salmonella. On facility grounds, ticks and mosquitoes pose serious health threats and can transmit Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
Additionally, stinging insects like wasps and hornets may choose a commercial facility as the location for their nest during the summer months, presenting a variety of dangers as these pests send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.
Termites are a threat to wooden structures, as their voracious appetites for cellulose can cause serious damage. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites are the source of $6.8 billion in property damage in the United States each year, which can be extremely costly to your business.
The most important step managers can take to ensure their facility and grounds are protected from pest threats is partnering with a licensed pest control company to perform regular inspections and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
IPM is a holistic and customized approach to pest control that is comprised of three steps: inspection, identification and treatment to help ensure commercial facilities are clean, compliant and pest-free. The assistance of a licensed pest control professional can give you the peace of mind that your facility is geared up to ward off pests throughout the year. You can then turn your attention to ensuring your facility is delivering quality products in a safe and efficient way.
Hiring the best pest control partner should be at the top of every facility manger’s summer maintenance to-do list. Check out these tips for ensuring you pick a company that is the best fit for you and your facility’s wants and needs:
1. Evaluate pest control companies that are members of national, state or local pest control associations: Being a member of these associations means the company is committed to protecting public health and property and has a desire to receive ongoing education about new technologies and treatment techniques. These companies will also abide by local and federal pest control regulations.
2. Research companies and ask for recommendations: Inquire about companies and services from others in the commercial industry as they face similar challenges regarding pest control. When meeting with a prospective pest control partner, always ask questions about their pest control practices and other restaurant clients they serve.
3. Understand service agreements: Before finalizing the agreement, carefully read contract terms to fully understand what pests and services are covered, as well as any guarantees that may be given. Negotiate and ask questions as needed.
While effective pest control in commercial facilities requires a year-round partnership with a licensed pest control company, facility managers can implement steps into their facility management plan to deter pests. The NPMA recommends implementing the following prevention tips:
- Conduct regular inspections of the building, paying close attention to any dark or damp areas, as these are particularly attractive to pests. Be alert for signs of various infestations, including droppings, chew marks, nesting areas, debris and actual pests themselves.
- Properly store or dispose of empty containers, as these can serve as harborage sites for pests.
- Ensure there is no condensation buildup on any equipment or appliances that could accumulate moisture and attract pests.
- When unpacking new inventory or receiving shipments, carefully inspect all items and packaging for any signs of damage.
- Seal any cracks or gaps on the exterior of the building, paying close attention to areas where pipes and utilities enter.
- Ensure gutters are free of debris and be sure to direct water away from the building through properly functioning downspouts to prevent water collection.
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors and repair any screens to prevent pests from gaining entry.
- Ensure the grounds surrounding the facility are properly maintained, as overgrown vegetation can attract pests to the property.
- Install a gravel perimeter around the building to help discourage vegetation growth that could harbor pests.
- Ensure any dumpsters on-site have a closeable lid and are located as far away from the building as possible.
The summer season is an exciting time of year that can quickly be ruined by a pest infestation. Help keep your employees and customers safe this season and year-round by following these tips and working with a trained pest professional.
About the Author:
Cindy Mannes is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).