Minimizing Pest Attractions Outdoors – Simple Ways to Make Your Business Less Inviting to Pests
Making the exterior less desirable to pests can mean fewer pests numbers around the exterior and fewer pests trying to make their way indoors.
To keep pests from migrating indoors, it’s important to consider the exterior of your facility and ensure it is as unattractive and uninhabitable to pests as possible. Because we cannot always keep all doors closed at all times, pests will still have the opportunity to enter a building when doors are opened for guests and deliveries. Here are some ways you can minimize pest attractions on the exterior and keep your business pest free.
Reduce Opportunities for Food, Water and Shelter
All pests need food, water and shelter for survival. Included in the shelter category are preferred temperatures. Pests like insects are cold blooded and cannot regulate their body temperature. They will seek warmer and cooler temperatures as appropriate to maintain a favorable body temperature. This means warmth in the cold winters and cooler air on a hot summer day. Flies, rodents and other pests will seek buildings for protection and comfort.
Food and garbage odors, water and favorable indoor temperatures can all provide attractants for pests. Pest proofing to seal the structure helps reduce air leaks which may signal to pests a more favorable temperature indoors. Keeping lids closed on dumpsters and trash receptacles is important for reducing access and odor plumes from these areas. Water leaks and proper drainage of areas should be maintained to reduce access to water by rodents, birds and other insects. Insects like mosquitoes breed in standing water. Reducing water sources can help reduce mosquitoes and other pests.
An attractive property and landscaping can contribute to the total guest experience. However, certain landscaping materials and plants can be attractive to pests. For example, mulch used in landscaping can encourage certain pests like sowbugs, termites, millipedes and earwigs. One inch or larger rock is preferred for pest prevention. The rock should extend ½’ deep and at least 2’ away away from the structure when installed around perimeters. Ground covers like ivy can provide harborage for rodents and insects. Flowering plants can attract bees, wasps and ants. Keep vegetation trim and do not allow tree or shrub branches to touch the structure. The recommended spacing for trees and shrubs is for a 6 foot clearance between the branches and the structure.
Pests may be attracted to structures due to light. Many insects use light to navigate and can be attracted by lights for this reason. Certain types of lights are more attractive to insects than others. Insects are more attracted to lights in the blue spectrum and less attracted to lights in the yellow range. Selecting lights towards the yellowish spectrum will help reduce the buildings attraction to insects. Mercury vapor lights are a common type of lighting which emits light more in the blue range (450-550 nm). Mercury vapor lighting should be avoided when possible, especially when lights are mounted directly on the building. High pressure sodium vapor lights are preferred (575-600 nm). Mercury vapor lighting can be 112 times more attractive to insects than sodium vapor lights. Many facilities are switching to LED lights because of energy savings. When selecting LED lights, look for lighting in a similar spectrum as sodium vapor lights.