Condo managers endeavour to create an outstanding living environment for residents of the communities they serve, and yet this work can quickly be undone by one thing — a pest infestation. There are costs and reputational concerns that arise when unwanted insects start climbing into residents’ kitchen cabinets.
But it doesn’t have to go that far. Taking proactive steps can help keep unwanted pests out of condo buildings, saving the time and money involved in treating infestations.
Here are five useful tips for keeping crawling critters out of condos:
Set up regular pest monitoring inspections
This seems like a no-brainer, but condo managers often overlook this simple step. Establishing regular pest monitoring inspections helps to detect potential pests before they become a problem.
The presence of some insects pinpoints an underlying problem. For example, finding moisture-loving insects is an indication of moisture problems in the building such as leaking pipes. Finding drain flies suggest drainage issues in need of maintenance.
Plus, having a documented process for a pest management program, including bed bug inspections, helps avoid costly problems and even resulting lawsuits. For example, bed bug lawsuits often occur when tenants allege that not all necessary preventive measures have been put in place by management to control bed bugs and protect their welfare, resulting in emotional, psychological or financial stress. However, proper documentation serves as evidence of due diligence, showing what steps were taken, and when, to control the issue.
Keep a close eye on exterior areas
Before they get inside units, pests are roaming outdoors. It’s a good idea to have someone regularly inspect places such as flower beds, mulch, the parking lot, pool and recycling or waste areas to monitor for pest activity. It’s especially important to make sure these areas are free of attractants such as food debris, as this can bring pests scurrying onto the property in search of their next snack.
Eliminate standing water around the property
There are just a few things pests need to thrive — food, shelter and water. If there’s been a leak in a unit or around the exterior of the building, chances are pests will arrive soon if the problem isn’t fixed. The same goes for accumulated moisture around the pool, which can seep into the surrounding landscaping and give pests reliable resources to thrive and reproduce.
Follow a regular sanitation schedule
Pests are always on the lookout for their next meal, and they’re very likely to find it in a pile of trash in an unkempt waste disposal area. Make sure that bins are emptied on a regular basis. In addition, it’s a good idea to thoroughly sanitize these disposal areas at least once every few weeks. This ensures that any remaining food debris and smells are eliminated, reducing the potential to attract pests.
Educate residents on proper pest prevention techniques
Last but certainly not least, make sure residents have the information they need to identify pest warning signs and report problems. Isolated, undocumented pest problems that spiral out of control are a nightmare for condo managers.
Residents should understand the proper procedures for contacting management if they see pests — or even abnormalities, such as finding dead insects, droppings, gnaw marks or even tiny holes in wooden surfaces that could indicate pests are lurking nearby. Furthermore, inform residents about how they can help to keep unsightly invaders out of their condos, including:
- Storing food in sealed containers in the pantry and refrigerator.
- Reporting a leaky faucet early before the water has time to settle in a pool.
- Taking out trash in a timely manner and not leaving trash on the ground.
- Maintaining sanitary conditions and reducing clutter.
- Not feeding birds or wildlife on the property.
While condo managers may be responsible for pest prevention, there’s a lot residents can do to help in this regard — for their benefit as well as management’s. Everyone can rest a little easier knowing there are eyes everywhere to help stop an infestation before it spreads across units.
These are just a few of the steps that can be taken to protect condo buildings from pest infestations.
Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is quality assurance manager – regulatory/lab services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. With more than 20 years of experience, she manages the quality assurance laboratory for Orkin Canada and performs analytical entomology as well as provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at [email protected]