In the winter months, competing end-of-year priorities may make pest control more of an afterthought. Probably because pests don’t come around during the colder months, right? Wrong. Pests are opportunistic — when they see your employees enjoying the warmth inside (and possibly some holiday treats in the break room), you can trust they want in on the festivities.
What may seem like a few harmless pests at first can quickly lead to major infestations if they make their way into your business or, even worse, become a customer-facing dilemma. Here’s a breakdown of the most common winter pests and how to keep an eye out for their presence around your workplace.
Rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter, and mice need even less room to sneak in, making it imperative to consistently:
- Seal all openings (even the tiniest) to the outdoors including any cracks in your building’s exterior, worn down door and window seals, damaged screens, damaged areas on the roof or even unscreened utility vents.
- Keep high traffic areas such as waiting rooms, break rooms and bathrooms particularly clean and free of waste.
- Check dark, lower traffic areas as well as storage, electrical or utility rooms that are not frequently used for signs of intruders including any droppings or gnaw marks.
We all know that cockroaches love the heat of the summer. Unfortunately, they usually can’t find a way down south to ride out the winter months at the beach. Therefore, they tend to make their way into the more humid areas of indoor spaces—think bathrooms, breakrooms and kitchens. To stop cockroaches in their tracks:
- Seal any openings around windows, cracks and crevices in both interior and exterior walls, and any gaps around utility line entry points.
- Keep bathrooms and kitchens as dry as possible, and make sure to check your sinks and faucets for any leaks.
- Ensure all floor drains are properly screened and in good condition with the appropriate mesh/gasket as drains and plumbing pipes are a common entry point for cockroaches.
- Store food in sealed, airtight containers at least a quarter of a meter off the ground and away from exterior walls.
- Eliminate clutter that can provide harbourage and practice thorough, consistent waste management.
Think bed bugs only affect hotels? Think again. These sneaky pests can still hitch a ride into your business through employee or customer clothing, backpacks and luggage (‘tis the season for holiday travel). To keep them out, keep any laundry—including dirty towels used for cleaning— in sealed bags until they are laundered, and remember to vacuum regularly. Be on the lookout for:
- Live or dead bugs (don’t forget the skins left behind during molting)
- Tiny black or brown stains on upholstered furniture
- An unpleasant, musty smell—like coriander—produced by bed bug scent glands
- In non-hospitality commercial businesses, pay close attention to areas such as locker rooms, changing rooms, lunchrooms, offices and facilities where mechanical vehicles are operated such as forklifts.
While not harmful to humans, insects like stink bugs, boxelder bugs, cluster flies and ground beetles are regarded as a nuisance. These pests are lured by the warmth from indoors looking for places to hibernate and find shelter as the temperatures drop. People are oftentimes surprised to see them around windows and other sources of light on warm, sunny days as they are drawn to areas of buildings with more direct sunlight. To prevent these pests from infringing on your cozy winter plans indoors:
- Seal up any gaps around building foundations, cracks and crevices near window or door frames, open vents and unscreened windows and doors that can provide easy access for these pests.
- If your facility has a history of nuisance or overwintering insects, prevention measures should be implemented as early as possible before the onset of indoor migration by having a certified pest control professional perform exterior residual treatments.
When it comes to keeping pests out of your business during the colder months, it’s essential to be proactive with prevention, but also take action immediately if they are found. For more information on pest identification, habits and prevention, contact Orkin Canada today.
Reviewed by Alice Sinia, Ph.D., MSc on December 4 2021.
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