Farm and garden on the roof of a skyscraper in the city

Green roofs have been a popular trend in healthcare buildings across the country. But not all of the fans are of the two-legged variety, according to an article on the McKnight's Long Term Care News website.

They offer emotional and public relations benefits as well as credits toward Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification. They also offer an attractive home to a variety of pests.

Luckily, there are a few easy ways for facility managers to mitigate this risk and keep pest activity to a minimum.

The first thing you must do is to identify the pests that may be a problem. You want to tackle potential problems head on before they get out of control. Pests to watch for include:

•  Rodents are the most common green roof pests. They can damage plantings, wires, utility lines, doors and poles.

•  Plant-feeding pests can damage the stems and leaves. They produce a honeydew sap that draws in ants —  the worst invader in any kind of building.

• Stinging pests are attracted to flowering plants. They can be harmful to patients, especially those with allergies to their stings.

•  Birds can be a double threat, causing both physical damage and health concerns. Bird droppings can corrode building materials and carry diseases.

There are a number of ways to keep pests to a minimum, such as:

•  Minimize plant species that attract pests
•  Healthy plants are less likely to attract pests
•  Use cedar mulch instead of organic mulch
•  Try to avoid ivy overgrowth to minimize food and shelter for pests

Another way to combat pest problems is to implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan. IPM strategies emphasize nonchemical techniques, focusing on facility maintenance and sanitation before considering chemical solutions, the article said.

Regular monitoring and maintenance can help prevent pest activity and help detect any pest problems early.

Read the full article.