By Jennifer Brumfield, Western Pest Services
It’s every manager’s nightmare, but pests are a real threat to your property during renovations. Overlooking them could mean trapping rodents and other nuisances inside the structure of your building. That’s why it’s important to have a pest management plan in place prior to beginning renovations, so you can keep pests away before, during and after the construction period.
Before a renovation, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting with your pest management professional. Working together toward the same goals will help ensure you have the best plan in place. Also, consider assessing any current pest activity in the area with your pest management professional.
This is key to determining what actions you should take to reduce infestation risk. Other steps you can take include cleaning up any areas across the property that may have gone unnoticed or neglected; pre-treating the building for termites; inspecting any raw materials for the presence of pests before bringing them to the jobsite; and keeping an eye on construction zones around the property, as any displaced pests may scurry onto your property looking for a new home.
Renovations bring a lot of people, tools, and materials on-and-off the property, which can leave the doors open for sneaky pests. Consult with your pest management provider to determine the best bait traps to use around the building’s exterior and near any construction materials. Grade your property to make sure no puddles form near the construction site. Keep the site clean at all times. Replace any mercury vapor or fluorescent lights with LED lights, as pests are less likely to be attracted to LED bulbs. And, at the end of each day, cover any building materials to protect them from rain. Once materials are wet, it becomes an inviting space for many pests.
After a renovation, it is important you keep working alongside your pest management professional to implement or update your Integrated Pest Management Program (1PM). The 1PM approach focuses on environmentally friendly, non-chemical techniques to help manage pests long-term. Also, consult with an HVAC professional to create what’s known as “positive airflow” in your building. This means that when doors open, the air will push flying bugs out instead of sucking them in. When it comes to landscaping, don’t use any plants that attract pests and trim back any plants or trees that are touching structures, as these can serve as unintended footbridges for unwanted guests.
Next time you renovate your property, don’t forget about the crucial detail that is pest management. Contacting a professional early to get started on a plan could be the difference between resident satisfaction and an uncontrollable infestation.
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.