As much as we don’t like to admit it, we must share our living and working spaces with all aspects of nature, including those we refer to as Pests.
Silently, stealthily they approach. They creep in through your foundation. They find their way in through seams in the windows. They come up from drain pipes, wriggle under doors and make nests anywhere they can dig in. They’re creepy, crawly, hairy and slimy. Some sting. Some bite. Some destroy everything from electrical wiring to structural support. They make our lives difficult. We want to avoid them, but they don’t always want to avoid us. If left unchecked, they can slowly destroy our homes, buildings, and businesses.
Stinging, biting, spreading disease, destroying and just plain making us uncomfortable, Pests are a major concern to those who own rental properties, hotels and restaurants. There are thousands of reasons why these Pest Species “move in.” Knowledge is the key to eliminating the associated problems and damage caused by pests. While we don’t like sharing our space with pests, they don’t really care; so by understanding pests and what motivates them to encroach on our space, we can learn how to better approach, deal with, and resolve the associated trouble.
The invasion has already begun. Are you ready?
The weather has finally warmed up and you’re working on this year’s landscaping. Digging up your flower beds, you happen to disturb an ant colony that moved in. Thousands of angry ants pour out of the wound you inflicted on their home—and they intend on eliminating the threat. What do you do? You either run inside and wait for the colony to settle down, or you end up covered with biting, stinging ants. And what about that wasp nest under the eaves of the roof? The one that gets bigger every day and houses those aggressive, stinging insects that like to hang out around the trash receptacles? Then there’s that scraping sound your tenants complain about coming from the walls. Mice have moved in and are chewing on the electrical lines, causing power failures and extensive damage.
No matter what sort of pest species have moved in, all cause problems. Identifying the damage that goes along with the species can be both easy and hard. Some are obvious, like flying, stinging insects. Others are more difficult to identify, such as rodents destroying electrical lines, clogging up your HVAC and polluting food stores in kitchens.
We decided to make a list for you, as well as offer resources for further research and instruction on how to deal with these invasive pest species. We know that this is a major battle that restaurant, hotel and apartment management must deal with, but we want you to know that we’re here to support you! Sure, we offer you water-heating solutions—but we also believe that the continued success of your business is also our business. We’re here to help!
Identify the Pest
Below is a list of common pest species that you’re likely to encounter at some point or another. Learn how to identify the species, where they lurk about on your property, what kind of damage they can cause, and some common methods of dealing with each.
These types of insects account for a large majority of pest concerns. They can destroy gardens, trees and other plants making your landscaping wither and die. They can easily get indoors, wrecking food stores and damaging foundations and structural support. They can even take up residence in bedding and other furniture, which is the last thing your residents or guests want.
These insects can get into your building through even the tiniest of cracks and seams. Many—especially ants—are attracted to water sources, as well as sweet and greasy food sources. Others, like termites, are looking for the stored energy in the structural building materials of your property. Wooden frames stand little chance against these pests. If you see just one of these little guys, then you can bet there are TONS more than you ever dared to imagine.
An unregulated infestation with any of these species can spell disaster for your business’ reputation, not to mention the hassle of potential damage and repair costs. Some of these insect species can be relatively easy to control and avoid, while others are nearly impossible to control without the help of professionals. Oftentimes restaurants, hotels and apartments must schedule regular maintenance with pest control services to keep these insect pests at bay.
Here are the most common insect species you’ll encounter in and around your property:
Spiders get their own section here. There are thousands of different types of spiders and many are harmless to humans, oftentimes our eight-legged friends are even beneficial to us without causing any trouble. What’s interesting about spiders is that they act as a sort of natural pest control, preying on many, if not all, of the other problem insect species we mentioned earlier. But for many, trading spiders for centipedes is a poor deal.
And while some spiders can be dangerous to humans, almost everyone will agree that a spider infestation, dangerous or not, is less than tolerable—it’s downright gross.
- How to control your spider population: Keep your establishment clean! Spiders don’t like to be disturbed and keeping a regular cleaning schedule will help keep these creepy little monsters away.
- Keeping their prey away means keeping spiders away. If your spiders have nothing to hunt, they’ll have little motivation to stick around.
Overall, spiders are still considered to be unwanted in any clean, well-kept professional establishment. Professionals can help you keep spiders from gaining a strong foothold by hunting for and eliminating their nests and eggs.
These pests are some of the most annoying, irritating and downright scary little jerks you’re bound to cross paths with. They not only cause painful stings and/or disease, but many are territorial and very aggressive.
You’ll find these underneath awnings around your building, between the paneling along exposed walls, building homes in the ground and in gardens around your property, in maintenance sheds, mailboxes, and inside of trash receptacles. Mosquitoes breed and flourish in ponds of still water—even in the collected dew on the grass of your lawn. Cockroaches tend to hide in basements, walls, and underneath just about anything. They can even flourish inside your cupboards and other furniture.
Here are the most common flying insect pest species:
- Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets
- Gypsy Moths
These pests cannot be ignored because they only get worse. And if they’re infesting your restaurant or bar, or your apartment or hotel, they become a dangerous liability. Many people are allergic to insect stings or bites and there’s no reason to put your staff, tenants or patrons at risk.
If you catch the pests before they become an infestation, you have a decent chance of being able to control them before they can become a problem, but they will continually return year after year. Hiring professionals is the better long-term solution because they know exactly how to deal with each individual species, as well as how to eliminate any nests that allow them to keep returning.
Animals other than insects can be just as much of a pest problem, if not more so in terms of liability due to property damage and/or health concerns. Indoor rodents can consume and contaminate food stores, destroying profit on multiple levels—not to mention the hygienic problems they carry with them. Wildlife that establishes itself too near your business can damage property, including electrical wiring, gardens and other landscaping. They’re also notorious for harboring disease.
Sometimes these sneaky pests are just looking for an easy meal, and the garbage areas on your property provide a quick fix. Nobody wants to deal with a rabid skunk or opossum, and frankly, it’s very dangerous to even try. If any of these species have taken up residence on or within your business, hiring a professional is your ONLY solution.
- Rats, Mice and other Rodents
- Squirrels & Chipmunks
- Gophers, Moles & Woodchucks
Here in the American Midwest, reptiles don’t prove to be much of a problem…with one exception: Snakes. Responsible for approximately 50,000 human deaths per year, snakes are a major problem species. Luckily, we’re protected from many of these deadly snakes due to our colder, Midwestern climate.
“Only 6 out of 45 Midwestern snake species are venomous. Venomous snakes of the Midwest include copperhead, cottonmouth, four rattlesnakes (timber, massassauga, pigmy, prairie). All of these species belong to the pit viper family (Viperidae).” – Purdue University
If you eliminate places for their prey to hide, you effectively eliminate the threat of most snakes. Keep your bushes and shrubs well groomed. Be sure your bushes and other low to the ground plant life don’t run up against any structures or your building.
Most of the time, you’re likely to encounter a relatively harmless common garter snake. If you spot a snake and you’re not sure what kind it is and/or if you see a lot of snakes in one area, call a professional to handle it. Don’t try to deal with this animal on your own.
Birds are not often thought of as a pest problem…that is, until they become a problem. Birds build nests that can clog gutters and other drainage equipment. Their droppings can quickly become a problem in the parking lot, plus they can really ruin the aesthetics of a beautiful landscape. Some species of bird can make so much noise and other racket that they disturb your tenants and guests, while others can find their way into HVAC utilities and equipment, and even into your water heater’s exhaust ventilation or air intake, oftentimes dying inside before they can get out.
The most common bird pest species you will encounter:
- European Starlings
- House (English) Sparrows
Ending The Fight
If there’s one key piece of information we can’t repeat enough it’s this: Professional help is the best and in many cases, the ONLY solution. All of these pest species are just trying to survive. Because of that, they can be dangerous to humans within close proximity. If they could avoid us all together, they would. But it’s never that simple.
There are plenty of pest control professionals that offer fast, friendly and affordable pest control solutions. You can go with the big guys or look for the smaller ones, but do your research. Be sure the professionals you decide to hire can deal with your particular pest species.
Professionals also offer the added benefit of inspections. Having an assessment performed is the best way for your pest people to identify potential recurring problem areas, not to mention find and reveal problems you may not even know about yet.
Regardless of your pest problems, learning about the species and how to eliminate them is your first step. Here are some pest control solutions to get you started:
- Orkin Commercial
- Terminix Commercial
- Midwest Pest
- Milwaukee Pest Control Service
- 911 Pest Solutions
Whatever your pest problem, DO NOT WAIT. An infestation will only get worse over time. It’s best to nip the problem in the bud. Good luck!