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Preventive Pest Control
October 21, 2016 - Maintenance & Operations
By John Simcoe
Pest control is a headache for property managers. Dealing with these complaints can eat up the valuable time of maintenance crews and become a source of strife with tenants. That’s why it’s important to assert control of the situation proactively and take steps to intercept rodents and insects before they get out of control.
One of the best ways to limit the pests annoying your tenants or entering your property is to keep abreast of the pest issues in your area. Reach out to other property owners to discuss what’s “bugging” them since outbreaks are regional in nature. After all, when one property gets hit by an infestation, then a neighbor is likely to get the same.
Once you have an idea of the season’s big pest, do some basic research on “how to get rid of Pest X.” This simple effort can help you prepare for these pests before they damage your property or annoy your tenants. If you’re not entirely sure of the pest you’re seeing, visual guides are available on many insects and rodents, allowing you to ID the pest on your own.
From there, read up on the pest and map out a proactive plan to limit an infestation in your facility. Whether you’re facing an upswing in rodents or an explosion in the cockroach population, there are steps you can take to make your buildings less inviting.
Look for the Better Mouse Trap
There are a lot of mouse and rat trapping options out there, but as a facility manager, it’s worth considering something beyond simple traps and bait boxes. Such solutions often require daily trap checks and constant cleaning.
Understanding the labor issues facilities managers struggle with rodent control companies are always looking to build a better mouse trap. Be aware of technical innovations in rodent control that spare maintenance workers from “making rounds” as they check trap after trap. Also consider rat or mouse traps that capture multiple rodents with each device setting, rather than simple snap traps that need to be constantly emptied and reloaded.
Simple Ant and Insect Control
One of the most frustrating pests for tenants can be the constant presence of ants and other insects. These insects can get just about anywhere in a property, but are most drawn to areas that offer food or water. The result is that property managers get complaints about these pests ruining food and swarming sinks.
Rather than spending money on an exterminator contract, property manager may want to consider applying an insect-killing dust around the foundation of a building. This pesticide disrupts insect nervous systems and kills them when they try to cross the powder. Designed to be waterproof and effective for months at a time, it’s best to apply it twice a year for optimal results.
Simple Maintenance Tricks
Nearly all pest infestations can be traced back to one simple issue: Access. Mice can squeeze through holes as small as a dime, and most insects can wriggle through cracks that are less than 1/8 of an inch wide.
If insects or rodents can find a way into a structure, they will take advantage of it in any way they can. They will use it for shelter, and they will track down food and water inside where they’re protected from severe weather.
With that in mind, it’s up to building managers to search out and eliminate those access points, which can include spaces around utility conduits or gaps caused by weather and erosion. Your best bet is to make regular property inspections and seal voids that allow access to these pests. For small cracks, a fresh layer of paint does the trick. For slightly larger areas, apply caulk. Seal large spaces with a mixture of wire mesh and expanding foam to hold back most rodents.
When sealed and touched up by a professional maintenance person, these simple repairs will keep rodents and other pests out while improving the visual appeal of a property.
John Simcoe is a writer for the Woodstream Corporation, a Pennsylvania company with a history of rodent and pest control that stretches back to the 1800s. The company’s brands include Victor and Terro.