Zachary Smith is the President of Smith’s Pest Management based in San Jose, CA.
The seasons are changing. As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to dip, we naturally turn inward, seeking warmth and comfort indoors. And, as it turns out, we're not the only ones.
Pests like cockroaches and mice (both of which can carry disease ) often become more active as the weather cools. In seeking a warm place to spend the winter, pests may try to make their way into your business. Fortunately, you don't have to live with pest infestations during the chilliest time of the year.
I own and operate a comprehensive pest management company that provides pest control services to San Francisco Bay Area businesses. In this article, I'll share a few of my top tips for pest-proofing your business this fall and winter, so you can stay pest-free all season long. Let's dive in.
Four Tips To Prepare Your Business For The Fall And Winter
Regardless of what kind of building your business is based in, following these tips can help keep pests out:
1. Identify popular pest areas.
A building offers food, warmth and shelter, and pests will do whatever they can to get inside. To stop them in their tracks, the first step is to identify the places they're likely to set up shop.
Common pest hotspots include break rooms, dumpsters and trash cans, storage rooms and utility rooms — all of which typically offer plenty of hiding spaces for pests to stay concealed. Monitor these areas carefully for pest activity, keeping an eye out for signs of pest infestation, including droppings, signs of predation and nests.
2. Make it a team effort.
It's very difficult to pest-proof an entire building on your own. Instead, I recommend involving your employees if you want to generate the best results. Meet with employees to brief them on the pest problem and to provide some actionable strategies to deal with pests. If applicable, consider assigning different pest-management tasks to your employees. For example, one person can be in charge of taking out the trash daily while another mops the floor. These are simple steps, but they can go a long way toward helping you put an end to your pest problems.
Some pest management companies also provide free employee training to help employees learn to identify target pests and the conditions that attract them. If this training is available, it can help your team to work together as a unit to stop pest infestations before they start.
3. Patch gaps, cracks and openings.
Pests like cockroaches, ants and spiders can fit through very small openings. To keep them out of your building, it's important to inspect your siding and foundation and make repairs where necessary. I recommend using water-resistant caulk or sealant to seal cracks and crevices around your foundation and around window and door jambs.
You'll also want to take a close look at your outdoor landscaping. Since pests use vegetation as "bridges" to get into your building, I recommend keeping trees and plants trimmed back to at least 12 inches from your siding.
If you have an existing pest problem outside your building, address it as soon as possible at the site to stop it from spreading indoors.
4. Beef up indoor cleaning and sanitation.
Next, make the inside of your building as unappealing as possible for pests. Employ a strict cleaning and sanitation plan that targets pest hot spots like drains, dumpsters and trash cans. I suggest using an organic cleaner to strip residue from these areas and make sure to clean up any food spills, crumbs and leftovers quickly.
Vacuum and mop floors regularly, remove trash daily and don't forget to sanitize and declutter spaces that could provide shelter for pests, like storage rooms.
Colder weather doesn't have to mean problematic infestations.
Take these steps to start pest-proofing your business for the fall and winter. You may also want to back up your efforts with local professional assistance. (Disclosure: My company provides pest management services.) Local professionals can work with you to reduce the risk of infestation and to eliminate any pests that are already living on or around your commercial property. They can also provide best practices for managing pests in your area and keeping your business pest-free for years to come.
While pests can become more active in the fall and winter, you don't have to accept pest problems as a reality. By following the tips in this article, you can help your commercial building resist pests this winter and for many winters in the future.
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