Pests can threaten your building, employees, customers, and image. From retail space to office buildings, commercial properties require detailed inspections, innovative strategies, and proactive communication with pest control experts to keep things safe and comfortable for tenants.
Believe it or not, the professional pest control industry is an $8 Billion industry. A “Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry” from Specialty Consultants estimates the compounded annual growth rate for these services is 4.4 percent. If that fact alone isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, just a bit, consider this – professional treatments to control bed bugs, which can find their way into just about any commercial property, has been one of the fastest growing pest concerns across the United States.
The most common pests
There’s no doubt that the highly publicized bed bug epidemic can make any commercial property manager worry, but take note, that in the pest world, their presence is still no more common than some other less publicized pests.
Ants maintain their status as the most common pest problem, and incidence of infestation is on the rise, according to the most recent survey by the Professional Pest Management Alliance. Pest control service providers presume that an increase in moisture, changing pest control practices, and new species were the most likely causes of rising occurrences. The most prevalent species are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants. Infestations are most common in office buildings, restaurants, apartments and condos.
If another pest has reached celebrity status, based on recent media coverage, it’s the mosquito. A 2015 survey by Pest Control Technology reveals that 65% of pest control firms expect the need for mosquito control to increase in the foreseeable future. Supporting that notion, Pest Control Technology predicts a greater presence of pests, including mosquitos, for Florida as well as other regions due to a milder, wetter winter. Mosquitos, which are known to be carriers of Zika virus and West Nile virus, if left un-checked, can cause real problems for humans.
Termites go dormant during the winter, often finding shelter under the foundations of buildings during colder times. Their telltale mounds will be prevalent at properties that aren’t protected when warmer weather arrives. Industry experts recommend that property owners and managers have a termite inspection every 1-3 years to minimize the risk of damage.
Typically, when we think of pests, we think only of insects, but a study done by Columbia University in 2014 suggests that we may need to think more broadly. Research which was published in the journal mBio links rats to at least 15 viral pathogens, posing a health risk for humans. Pest control company Orkin, which ranks cities for their “rattiness”, placed Miami-Ft. Lauderdale on its top-10 list as well as Chicago, New York and Detroit.
Staying a step ahead of the pests
With changes in weather conditions and serious new health threats, keeping your property safeguarded from pest of all kinds is more important than ever. Prevention starts with being proactive and inspecting properties for the common intruders. This should be a regular activity that’s performed throughout the year. The checklist below should help with that.
For certain pests, like termites, you might consider going a step further and purchasing a prevention and maintenance contract with a recognized industry expert. While it may be tempting to ameliorate some property intruders with your in-house maintenance staff, you need to be cautious of government regulations surrounding the use of pesticides, traps and other remedies. Failure to observe these regulations can result in some heavy penalties, and can potentially create additional risks for your tenants.
Pest control checklist
- Gutters and drainage system are clean and water flows freely
- No standing water near property – check planters and fountains
- Doors seal tightly against thresholds
- No visible holes in siding or facia
- No wood piles or dead limbs near structure
- Foundation is free from cracks, holes or burrows
- Windows and screening are all intact
- Soffits, eaves and outdoor light fixtures are free of wasp/bee/bird nests
- Trash area and receptacles are clean and tidy
- Picnic areas and smoking areas are clean
- Vegetation growth is in control and trimmed
- Sprinklers are free of leaks
- Air conditioning condensation draining properly and clear of nests
- Wooden structures show no sign of frass, wings or mud tubes
- Has there been any tenant reports of pests?