No matter what kind of business you're running, dealing with the occasional pest is to be expected. The best thing you can do is stay vigilant in preventing major infestations that can lead to business shutdowns, health department violations, and lost revenue. The earlier you notice signs of an infestation and take steps to eliminate it, the better. Here's what to do at the first sign of a pest problem.
Once you have noticed signs of a pest infestation, the first step should be identifying exactly what type of pest you're dealing with. Here are some tell-tale signs of common pests:
- Rodents: Mice and rats follow their noses to food sources, so restaurants and businesses with a kitchen have to be extra vigilant. Look for droppings in sink base cabinets, on pantry shelves, in corners on the floor, and near sources of water. Chewed food, packaging, and entry holes are other clear signs.
- Insects: From ants, spiders and flies to cockroaches and bed bugs, there are hundreds of different varieties of insects that can make themselves at home in your business. While every insect has its own unique habits, once you begin to suspect an infestation, you can keep an eye out for more specific signs. Watch for live pests and the direction they move in, dead pests, or pest evidence like webs and egg sacks.
- Birds: Birds aren't as subtle as some other pests. They will make their presence known by creating noise and flying around. Bird nests, feathers, and droppings are obvious signs a bird has settled in your business.
- Wildlife: From skunks and squirrels to opossums and raccoons, larger wildlife can enter your business and do serious damage. They can be destructive and will leave droppings as they look for food and shelter.
DIY options available at your local hardware store can be an effective solution, but business solutions usually call for immediate action. Knowing when you need to call in a professional pest control company is essential to getting rid of a problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Related: Why Small Businesses Need Pest Control
How to prepare for a pest control technician
Once you've booked pest control services, there are a few things you can do to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Lack of preparation can limit treatment options and the ability to control a pest population, so following the directions of your technician is important. Preparing for a pest control treatment can include:
- Make all areas accessible: In order to be as thorough as possible, pest management technicians will need access to every room and area of the property. That may mean unlocking doors before service and/or making someone available to provide access during the service.
- Do some light cleaning: Some pests, like cockroaches and rodents, will be more difficult to control if competing food sources are not removed. For instance, unwashed dishes left overnight can present a cockroach feast. Always remember, a clean space is the first step to a pest managed space.
- Become Involved: Ask questions if you have any and be sure to let your pest management technician know if anyone has heightened allergies or a compromised immune system so they may consider any necessary precautions.
- Have a plan: One pest control treatment doesn't mean your work is done. To keep pests at bay long term, you should have a plan for keeping up with cleaning protocols, sealing up any entry points, and continuously inspecting for signs of re-infestations. Your pest management professional is ready to help you develop a long-term solution.
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