by Zia Siddiqi
Pests are unwelcome tenants in buildings. They approach apartment complexes because they offer the promise of food, water, shelter and optimal temperatures. During the summer, pests like mosquitoes, houseflies, cockroaches and ants will appear in full force, but simple practices like modifying the landscaping and outdoor design of an apartment building can make a huge difference.
Landscaping and structural modifications are cornerstones of Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, which focuses on using all available methods to help prevent and manage infestations, instead of relying on pesticides alone.
Tell Pests to Eat Dirt: Landscaping and Structural Modification
Landscaping, lighting, door structure and even roof design can make an apartment building more or less conducive to pest infestations. Managers should consider the following tips to stop pests from becoming residents in their buildings.
- Landscaping: Trim back all vegetation at least one meter from the building to prevent it from acting as a bridge for small pests, and consider installing a gravel strip around the building. This strip will act as an obstacle to crawling pests and will deter rodents, which don't like to be out in the open, from living along the exterior.
- Lighting: While exterior lighting is essential for access and safety, fluorescent light bulbs attract flying insects toward a building. Try mounting fluorescent lights at least 30 meters from the building to lure pests away. On the building's exterior, install sodium vapor bulbs, which are not as attractive to insects.
- Doors: Use airflow to push flying pests outside - air should flow out when doors are opened. Maintain a positive air pressure inside the building. Also, make sure that doors and windows close properly and are tightly sealed.
- Roofing: Birds can become a problem if they litter a building with droppings, causing property damage and posing health risks. Since birds will use the area under roof HVAC units as nesting sites, use netting or a vinyl seal to block off the open area. Also consider installing ledge treatments, such as spikes, to keep birds off roofs altogether.
By removing the conditions that facilitate pest infestations, managers can make a costly infestation much less likely. Working with a qualified pest management professional, they can ensure that the only tenants in the apartment are those who pay rent.