By Rose McMillan
Educating residents about pest mitigation strategiesCreating an integrated pest management strategy (IPM) for any multifamily housing setting requires a collaborative effort by the management company and the residents alike. By establishing a long-term strategy of pest elimination and working to educate the residents in developing their own successful cleaning strategies, the facility can ensure that pests do not become established within the housing units.
Effective pest control strategies cannot be successful without the informed participation of the residents. For this reason, the management must ensure that all residents are aware of how best to avoid attracting pests. They should also possess the know-how needed to control pests should they appear.
The most important topics to cover with residents include the following:
- Using proper cleaning procedures for pest control. For example, failing to regularly clean floors, tables and counters can leave residue that attracts pests.
- Stressing the importance of the prompt disposal of trash, especially used food products. Residents should use sanitary trash disposal units that can be closed rather than open baskets.
- Regular cleaning of dishes and kitchen utensils. In addition, appliances such as stoves must be regularly cleaned.
- Training residents in the safe use of long-term bait stations instead of using bug bombs or sprays that can be unhealthy and ineffective. For families with children, demonstrate how to place these stations in non-child accessible areas.
Finally, management should encourage the residents to discuss their pest management concerns, including regular meetings and Q&A sessions with the exterminator handling the property. As a result, it becomes less likely that a serious infestation will become established without the management’s knowledge.
Unit management and developing an integrated pest management strategy
In addition to educating residents about the strategies to prevent and eliminate pest infestations, the management must develop an effective IPM that addresses the needs of residents and owners alike. An effective IPM will include the following tactics:
- In collaboration with local exterminator companies, determine the nature of likely pests and the best methods to eliminate or prevent infestations.
- Seal any access ways that may be used by pests, including gaps in floors and walls, access to attic or cellar spaces, and gaps around piping or wiring.
- Maintain lines of communication with residents, and ensure that all residents are fully aware of effective pest control strategies.
- Establish a schedule for visits by the exterminator company to ensure a regular course of treatment to avoid the uncontrolled growth of a pest infestation.
- Enforce policies that prevent the accumulation of waste in any housing unit.
- Immediately take action upon notification of any infestation. For example, if roaches are being seen in the daytime, it is certain that a serious pest infestation exists and must be dealt with immediately.
Finally, management and residents must remain aware of the fact that in a multifamily housing unit, a problem in one apartment will always spread to the other units. A core component of IPM is treating the housing unit as a whole and understanding the importance of a holistic approach to treating infestations.
Pest control requires the cooperation of management, residents, and exterminators in order to arrive at a long-term pest management solution. By doing so, residents and management can rest easy in a pest free environment.
Rose McMillan is an experienced pest control professional, who has worked with multiple pest control companies in the New York metro area and now does freelance writing as a hobby. All images and sources are provided by Terminix Pest Library.