By Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services
It’s about that time of year when people start making New Year’s resolutions. Often, these revolve around self-improvement – working out, eating healthy, getting more sleep – but have you ever considered making a resolution for your business? This year, consider changing things up and make a resolution to put a renewed focus on your pest management efforts. Taking time to reassess your program and proactively planning ahead can help you improve your existing program and better prepare you to manage future pest problems.
Use this checklist to keep your pest management resolution going strong throughout the year.
If you aren’t currently employing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, now’s the time to start. Hotels and restaurants offer everything pests need: food, water and shelter. Combine that with a constant flow of foot traffic in and out of your establishment and you could have recipe for a pest-filled New Year. IPM is the best way to thwart potential issues and should be your first line of defense against pests. It’s a proactive, preventive approach to pest management that focuses on eliminating the factors that attract pests using a combination of methods such as sanitation and facility maintenance, and relies on chemical treatments only as a last resort.
The most successful pest management programs stem from strong partnerships. Think of your pest management provider as an extension of your team. Just as you would with your own team member, take time to build a dialog and create a good working relationship with them. Part of building a successful partnership also includes understanding your role. Make sure everyone involved is clear on the role they play in the fight against pests, including your staff.
Your staff can play a significant role in pest control if armed with the right knowledge. They can help spot early signs of pest activity and identify deficiencies that contribute to pest activity, but they need to know what to look for. Work with your pest management provider to educate your staff about pest behavior, the pests that pose the greatest threat and why, conditions that attract pests and IPM best practices for prevention and maintenance. Many pest management providers offer free on-site training sessions and can even offer tip sheets and other educational resources.
Review your pest management practices and results from the past year and ask: what pest problems did we encounter? How could we have minimized them? Analyzing your program, the issues you faced and how you did or did not solve them can help you make improvements to your pest management program. Remember, an IPM program should never be stagnant. It should evolve over time based on the changing environment and needs of your business.
Are you changing suppliers? Hiring new employees? Renovating or remodeling? Be sure to assess any operational changes expected in the coming year that can affect your pest management program. Keep an open line of communication with your pest management provider about these changes and work together to adjust your IPM plan accordingly.
The pest management industry is continually making advancements in prevention and treatment techniques. Talk to your pest management professional about the latest technologies available and if they are appropriate for your business. New technologies can help save you time, money, and resources – not to mention increase the effectiveness of your pest management program.
This New Year, make a resolution to re-examine your current pest management program. Taking the time to assess your program and outline a strategy for the coming year will help you safeguard against an infestation, avoid bad word of mouth, and protect your bottom line.
Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and Board-Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.