Whether you’re renovating an older-style building, or constructing entirely new, redesigning your building’s structure can be exciting. However, if the right precautions aren’t taken, new construction can also attract unwanted attention from pests.
To help prevent pest issues during construction and ensure your facility does not become home to pests once construction is complete, our Training and Technical Specialist, and entomologist Jennifer Brumfield explains how you can build pest management into your construction plans.
There are a variety of proactive measures your facility can take before, during and after the construction process to accomplish this, she explains:
“Before construction even begins, it’s important to get two people on board: your pest management provider and your contractor. An experienced pest management provider can do more than prevent and manage pest infestations that pop up during construction….
“When involved from day one, he/she can also provide feedback on building materials and locations that will be the least attractive to pests, and help you build measures into your construction plan that will lead to a successful pest management program when the doors to your new facility finally open,” she said.
Several tips your pest management professional may provide include:
- Use non-cellulose building materials to deter termites.
- Consider applying a preventive termite barrier to the property.
- Use pest monitors to assess pest populations in the surrounding area.
- Understanding which pest species will be a threat will help you determine what steps you need to take to deter them.
- Understand geographic conditions.
- Selecting a location for your facility near a water source might create additional pest pressures.
- Sufficiently grade the property to prevent puddles from forming around the foundation.
Remember, moisture attracts pests like mosquitoes and termites. Even though your management team may be the ultimate decision maker, it will be up to your contractor to take the lead on pest management during his/her work.
“With that said, meet with your pest management professional and contractor to discuss why pest management is important during the process and make sure everyone is on the same page about how it will be carried out,” Brumfield described.
Construction can be the cause of pest issues for a number of reasons. When construction begins, it can disrupt a pest’s current habitat. This disruption can force them to find shelter elsewhere, including within or around building materials such as wood, or at neighboring buildings.
To prevent your construction from being the source of pest infestations for neighboring properties, and, not to mention, to be a responsible builder, work with your pest management professional to set out baits and traps around the property’s exterior.
This tactic will also help prevent pests from returning once construction is complete.
Construction can also disrupt the sanitation and maintenance programs that are already in place at your facility, which is why it’s important to keep the construction site as clean as possible throughout the entire process. Make sure all workers are aware that food and trash left behind can attract pests, and should be disposed of daily.
In addition to keeping the site debris-free, work with your pest management professional to inspect all incoming raw materials for signs of pests before bringing them onto the site.
When construction starts to wrap-up, don’t forget about these finishing touches that can play a role in pest prevention:
- Work with an HVAC professional to ensure you have positive airflow in the building, so pests are pushed out of entrances instead of pulled in.
- Install air curtains at entrances to deter flying insects from entering.
- Use sodium vapor lights on the exterior of your building, which are less attractive than fluorescent or incandescent lights.
- Make sure trees and shrubs do not touch the side of your building.
Trim branches back at least two feet from the building exterior. When landscaping, also keep in mind that certain plants are more attractive to pests than others. For example, flowering shrubs are most attractive to stinging insects, while ivy, pachysandra and similar ground covers will attract rodents.
Once construction is complete, continue to work with your pest management professional on a regular basis. An ongoing Integrated Pest Management program will help keep pests and the threats they pose from building a home in your facility.