pest prevention

Pest prevention for pools and other amenities

An expert shares tips on how to keep these uninvited guests out of common areas
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
By Alice Sinia

A condominium’s amenities should set it apart from competitors, keeping owners and residents happy and suites occupied — at least, that’s the goal. A property manager should have a plan for keeping the amenities in pristine condition. That plan should include pest management because a building’s amenities are an easy target for pests seeking food and shelter.

It can be hard to spot a pest problem before it gets out of hand. Learn how to detect and help prevent pests by going through the following amenity hot spots where pests could pop up.

In the fitness centre

Pay attention to the fitness centre, as it attracts not only athletes but also pests with its warm, moist environment. Here are a few strategies for addressing some of the issues that can draw critters in:

  • The gym area should be a common stop for staff members cleaning up. Be sure to regularly remove and wash towels.
  • Pests are more sensitive to odours than humans and are attracted to many of them. One way to mitigate these scents is by installing an odour-eliminating and neutralizing system.
  • Also regularly inspect for cracks and crevices along baseboards that might develop with time as the structure ages. Seal off cracks to prevent sowbugs, centipedes and spiders from making a home inside.

Around the swimming pool

Residents looking to lounge and hang out by the pool would be discouraged if they were to find themselves battling stinging and biting pests. Outdoor amenity areas can be difficult to keep pest-free, but there are steps that can be taken to protect a property and its residents:

  • Standing water makes the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mop up any puddles with a squeegee or broom, especially after it rains.
  • Keep trash cans covered to stop flying insects, especially wasps, from hovering around them. Empty bins regularly, and don’t forget to rinse them out.
  • During the summer, when the pool is getting the most use, have staff regularly check the pool area for food debris and drink spills, and clean them up as quickly as possible. If one ant spots them, it will leave behind a pheromone trail for others to follow.
  • Regularly inspect the building exterior of indoor pools for cracks and leaks, which make an easy entry point for pests, and seal them immediately.
  • Avoid planting scented, brightly coloured flowers or fruit-bearing plants near the pool. These plants attract birds and insects such as wasps, bees and ants.

In common areas

High-traffic common areas such as party rooms and rooftop patios are ideal for owners and residents looking to host a small get-together with friends and family. However, when doors get left open or spills go unnoticed, they expose these spaces to increased pest pressures and put a property at risk for an infestation. As part of a larger sanitation and maintenance plan, have staff:

  • Replace worn thresholds and weather stripping, and encourage others to keep doors shut between use.
  • Use air to prevent pests. Positive airflow — air that flows out of the building rather than in — can blow pests out of the door. Hold a piece of paper to an open door. If it blows out the door, then the airflow is positive. If not, work with an HVAC professional to correct the issue.
  • If a property’s common areas include a guest entertainment space, inspect the room regularly for food crumbs or drink spills, and make cleaning it a regular part of the building’s maintenance routine.
  • Consider installing insect light traps. These discreet traps can be used not only to trap pests, but also to monitor and identify the source of flying pest activity.

Pests can attack a building from all sides, including its amenities, whether indoors or outdoors. Regular inspections and stringent cleaning standards are key to a successful pest management plan.

With colder weather right around the corner, pests are going to be looking for a place to spend the winter. Now is the time to make sure amenity areas are protected. With a little preparation, property managers can keep owners and residents happy while managing the pests.

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 15 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

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