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Green Roofs: Creating an Oasis for Residents, Not Pests

By Jennifer Brumfield, Training and Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services

When it comes to urban green space, the sky’s the limit–literally. Green roofs are a growing trend in cities across the country, with commercial and residential buildings alike converting their shingles to gardens.

Because of their aesthetic appeal, green roofs can be an attractive amenity to potential or current residents. But having a green roof over your apartment has many environmental advantages as well. In addition to gaining credit toward Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification, a green roof can help your apartment complex reduce energy consumption, filter acid rain, and other air pollutants, and mitigate the heat island effect.

These benefits, however, can be overshadowed by one threat: pest infestations. By understanding the possible pest threats and following these simple maintenance tips, you can create a rooftop oasis for your residents, not for pests.

Step 1: Understand the Pest Threats

Because green roofs are a form of living architecture, they are bound to attract pests. Here are a few of the pest threats you may encounter:

Step2: Plan the Design

A successful green roof begins with design. To help avoid future pest problems, follow these steps during the design phase:

Step3: Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a common-sense approach to pest control that involves proactive monitoring and maintenance of your green roof. Incorporate the following measures as part of your IPM program:

If your property is considering a green roof, or if you already have one, be sure to follow a regular maintenance routine and work with a pest management professional to help ensure your roof is a green oasis for residents, not for pests.

Jennifer Brumfield is a Training and Technical Specialist and Board-Certified Entomologist for Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.