Recreational and entertainment facilities, such as casinos, gyms, pools, parks, movie theaters, sports arenas, and community centres, are meant to be havens for fun and excitement. However, the presence of pests can quickly turn a joyful experience into a nightmare or even a health scare. Pest infestations not only damage structures, affect aesthetics, and pose health risks to your workers and customers, but they can also tarnish a business’ reputation and lead to significant financial loss.
To help ensure a pest-free environment and positive experience for patrons, facility managers must adopt proactive measures and effective pest management strategies to help prevent issues before they arise.
Some practical, preventive tips that will help safeguard your facility and protect your business from pests include:
- Regular facility inspections. Inspections go a long way to determine and eliminate pest entry points, sources of food and moisture, as well as harbourage sites. At the start of every season, it’s important to perform a detailed inspection of the interior and exterior, roof, walls, and floor levels to identify potential hot spots. Reach out to a pest management company that will be able to give you a comprehensive pest control plan tailored to your facility’s unique needs, which must include a regularly scheduled preventative inspection.
- Cleanliness and sanitation. Regularly cleaning heavily trafficked areas, including restrooms, dining rooms, and common areas, is the foundation of pest management. Since pests are attracted to food, be sure to pay special attention to areas where food is stored, prepared, and served, including vending machines. Spills and food crumbs must be promptly and thoroughly cleaned. Also, eliminate any clutter – items, both food and non-food must be stored neatly off the floor on shelves to allow for good housekeeping and pest monitoring. Also, proper waste management is important. Pests are attracted to food residue and garbage, so be sure to use receptacles with lids. These receptacles must always stay closed and must be emptied on a daily basis.
- Exterior maintenance. Landscaping upkeep can help contribute to pest prevention. Trim trees and bushes regularly, ensuring they are not touching building structures, so pests won’t be tempted to use them as entry points. Keep flowerbeds free of weeds, not overwatered, and properly aerated to help eliminate pest attraction and harbourage. Avoid planting brightly coloured flowers, scented or fruit plants close to entrances, as these draw pests to buildings where they can make their way indoors when doors are open. Also, be sure to empty and fill up potholes or depressions, or similar spots in the ground that may hold standing water, as this attracts and breeds pests like mosquitoes and midges.
- Exclusion tactics. Installing physical barriers such as screens, air curtains, door sweeps, and sealing any exterior cracks, holes or gaps will help prevent pests from entering your facility. Using these types of products will effectively keep insects and rodents at bay, without compromising the aesthetic, comfort, and ventilation for patrons.
- Staff education and training. Know the pest pressures. Educating your staff on practical tips will benefit both your employees and the business. By knowing the types of pests that might be encountered in the facility, and understanding the behaviour and habits of these pests, workers are able to identify early signs of pest activity and take proactive steps to prevent further infestation. Also, regular training sessions on sanitation best practices will assist in keeping hot spots clean and hygienic, as well as ensuring that your teams stay up to date on your latest efforts.
Preventative pest control tactics are the first steps in helping to keep your patrons’ experience free of pest encounters. Building a comprehensive pest management plan with a trusted pest control provider is essential in creating an environment that is pest-free, welcoming, and enjoyable for both patrons and staff.
Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is the quality assurance manager of Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada, focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. For more information, email Alice Sinia at email@example.com or visit orkincanada.ca.