mouce running toward an open hole in shaddow
Photo courtesy of Terminix

Challenges persist year-round and managers must be prepared

Pests change from season to season, but some facility cleaning managers still take a one-size-fits-all approach to their pest management tactics. To prioritize strategies that correspond to a season’s pest challenges, managers must adjust their approach. Doing so can help significantly reduce the likelihood that their businesses will have unwanted visitors.

Fall: Sealing Things Up

As the leaves start to turn, facility managers should turn their attention to building exteriors. Cooling temperatures and dwindling outdoor food sources may drive many pests inside, including rodents.

Rodents are particularly problematic because once they’ve made their way indoors, they can remain undetected while causing damage to the building. Mice, for example, can chew through electrical wiring, chew into drywall and nest in insulation.

Cleaning managers should focus on controlling all points of entry that these pests might use to access the building. Installing door sweeps or repairing damaged screens can help prevent opportunistic pests from entering. It is also helpful to inspect the entire exterior of the facility — including hard-to-reach areas like roofs — looking for openings where pests can enter the structure and sealing around potential entry points when found. Keep in mind that some pests can sneak through any opening wide enough to allow light to pass through.

Utility pipes and other openings in the structure are other areas to keep an eye on. Openings should be sealed with caulk, tin or other sealing materials. Something often overlooked is weather stripping, where breakage and deterioration can offer pests an opening large enough to crawl through.

While conducting the inspection and sealing process, a thorough log of maintenance issues should be kept. Encourage all team members to contribute. This will help ensure repeat problems can be appropriately addressed.

Winter: Looking Inward

During winter months, facility cleaning managers should focus their pest prevention efforts on mitigating interior pest problems. Winter is not a respite from pest issues, as “overwintering” pests (pests that are waiting for better environmental conditions) will seek shelter inside.

While it is tempting to cut costs by pausing pest management services during winter months, it is a significant risk for the facility. Once an infestation has begun, it is often more challenging and time-consuming to address it than preventing it in the first place.

Many pest management professionals are trained to tailor their approach in winter months to include additional inspections for rodents or other common winter pests. This season also provides an opportunity to inspect a facility for potential entry points that could be used by arthropods, such as centipedes and insects, as well as rodents.

Rats, mice, German cockroaches, silverfish and some spider species are active through winter, so they will continue their search for food sources and shelter inside businesses. Because they are active in winter, it is important to conduct regular inspections of a building’s interior for any signs of a pest infestation.

Employees should closely follow facility sanitation procedures and other pest-prevention best practices — such as routinely removing trash or food from break rooms — to help eliminate potential food sources.

Winter pest problems can also stem from an unexpected source: deliveries. Facility cleaning managers should train appropriate department personnel to inspect all incoming food shipments for stored product pests, cockroaches and other unwanted insects.

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Prevent Pests With Regular Inspections