Choosing the right pest professional to assist with the creation of an IPM program is important to the program’s success. It is also important that custodial decision makers have a solid understanding of IPM and the significant risks associated with pests and rodents.

When choosing a pest management company, decision makers should ask other similar businesses for recommendations. Then when meeting a prospective pest professional, ask if they practice IPM and the methods they would use to implement a preventative pest program.

Lastly, custodial managers should solicit bids from several pest management firms and check references. If a company offers a guarantee, know what is covered, how long it lasts and what must be done to keep it.  Evaluate contracts closely and buy based on value, not price. Choosing a pest management company is an important decision that will help safeguard the health and wellbeing of building occupants, and the value of the service should outweigh all other factors. 

Once a pest management company has been chosen, the custodial manager and pest professional should develop an employee training program to help custodial staff learn about prevention and detection of pests.

Start With Pest-Proofing

Once the custodial staff is trained on the importance of pest prevention and detection, there are a few general pest-proofing tips that can be implemented:
• Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in facility kitchens and cafeterias.
• Clean high-volume areas, such as public eating areas and kitchenettes, where crumbs, food scraps and trash are more likely to build up daily.
• Dispose of trash regularly and store in sealed containers or dumpsters.
• Keep dumpster lids tightly closed and loading dock areas clean.
• Keep storage areas well ventilated and dry.
• Do not keep outside doors open or propped for prolonged periods of time.
• Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the building, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
• Repair decaying exterior wood on buildings — some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
• Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
• Clear out any clutter in less used or undisturbed areas.

Pest prevention is among the most important responsibilities custodial managers must undertake as facilities are extremely vulnerable to infestations. However, they cannot go at it alone — working with a pest management company to educate the custodial staff is a crucial step in protecting buildings from infestations.

By implementing proper seasonal pest-proofing steps, educating facility personnel on pest prevention, keeping a watchful eye for potential problems and partnering with a qualified pest professional, facilities can succeed in keeping pest problems to a minimum. It can be a hard fought battle to keep pest problems at bay — but it’s one that can be won with the right tools. 

DR. JIM FREDERICKS, Chief Entomologist & Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs, and MISSY HENRIKSEN, Vice President of Public Affairs, are experts in pest control from The National Pest Management Association.

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Why Pest Management Matters