A: Pest control can be required when there is food handling, food prep, children, or healthcare workers, etc. Certain institutions are required by law or regulations to have pest control service. Most homeowners and structural homes are not required. Once again, it’s just by the customer —when you need it, you need it.
Even if pest control wasn’t required by many state and local laws and regulations, commercial pest control is still critical to your business. With the importance of sanitization and cleanliness heightened due to COVID-19, it’s more critical than ever.
Many businesses in industries such as healthcare and hospitality are under immense pressure during this pandemic. They’re struggling to keep their doors open as well as maintaining a safe environment for their customers. Along with the many precautions being taken by society due to COVID-19, there’s also a greater focus on pest control as it correlates with cleanliness.
Many of the kinds of pests we see in Houston are rife with diseases, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. They can get into the food supply in restaurants as well as medical and other supplies in healthcare facilities. Not only does this pose a health hazard in terms of contaminating supplies and resources, but an economic one as well—on two fronts.
Why Pest Control Is Even More Important Now
The WHO lists over 25 different bacteria, diseases, viruses, and other dangerous things that can be spread by rodents and the parasites they carry. However, it’s not just limited to rodents. Flies, cockroaches, ticks, fleas, and even birds pose both an economic and health threat.
No industry is insulated from such a risk as pests take any opportunity they can, invading everything from hospitals and hotels to restaurants and warehouses. In fact, there isn’t a single industry that doesn’t offer an ideal habitat for these pests. Okay, maybe one exception might be a pesticide manufacturing plant. That’s stating the obvious though.
How Pests Impact Your Business In A Pandemic
During the lockdowns early on, pests had far fewer encounters with people than ever before. This means that they could easily get into buildings and storefronts unabated. Furthermore, with less people in let’s say, downtown Houston, there’s less trash and leftover lunches, etc. for pests to get into. So, naturally, they moved indoors to find their basics—food, water, and shelter. Now, people are back, Texas has been open for several months and the problems are showing.
Pests that made their entry points into local businesses can roam back and forth freely until discovered. The other issue that is allowing pests to proliferate— lack of pest control technicians to work jobs as they come in. The unemployment stimulus combined with people’s fear or susceptibility to COVID-19 has caused a shortage in the labor force.
However, there is no shortage of pests. Living without human deterrence for months has allowed pest populations to double or triple in some areas. For example, rats gnaw drywall and shred boxes for nesting, birds block drains with their nests, and all pests leave their droppings behind. All of this is costing businesses hundreds of thousands nationwide.
How To Mitigate Pest Infestations
Mitigating pest infestations is not a cost anyone wants to incur for their business. However, the cost of an infestation is far more expensive. Not only can a pest infestation cost you even more in pest control efforts, but it can also shut your business down.
For example, if you have a restaurant, and you fail to prevent a cockroach infestation—it only takes one customer experience with a roach. The incident will go viral on the internet and review sites like Yelp in a matter of hours. That is lost business you cannot afford, not to mention a tarnish on your brand reputation.
But, how can you prevent a problem that hasn’t presented itself yet? How do you know what pests to target? The answer is with a scheduled pest control service plan from Champions.
What Is Scheduled Pest Control?
Scheduled pest control is a service plan that provides businesses in the healthcare, restaurant, hospitality, and property management sectors protection from pests. Depending on your level of risk, we come on a set schedule to continually treat your place of business.
Our visits include visual inspections of the property in order to discover signs of building breach, developing nests, and more. The methods we use to keep pests out of your business are environmentally friendly. We avoid pesticides as much as we can and only use them in extreme cases. When we do have to resort to chemicals, we are diligent about not letting a treatment affect your business or property.
Three of the biggest pests that businesses in Houston face and require pest control for are rodents, flies, and roaches.
Keeping rodents from your business requires us to use exclusion to keep them out and removing any makeshift shelters. These shelters could be things like empty shipping pallets, old boxes, standing water, and more. For example, hotels and hospitals will have a lot of weak points in their building for rodents to enter. Laundry vents, through ductwork, drains, and sometimes, they get right through the front door.
They’re coming for shelter and to make themselves a home inside the nooks and crannies of your ceiling, basements, and within your walls. A scheduled service plan will allow you to shore up weak points in your building. Using traps, and other active solutions will help to deter other rodents from harboring in your building. But, the biggest deterrence is exclusion and cutting off access to food and water.
Texas is known for its German cockroaches which are stronger than average and are very resilient. They especially love the Houston area due to the moist and humid conditions. Cockroaches take shelter in dark, isolated places such as drains, inside walls, in cracks and crevices—any place hidden from sight. They will come out during periods when human activity is at a lull, to seek food and water—usually at night.
Maintaining proper food handling practices will exclude cockroaches from a reliable food source thereby preventing an infestation. There are other key steps you can take to mitigate your chance of a roach infestation:
- Consistently inspect equipment, crevices, and dark, isolated areas for signs of roach activity.
- Maintain good cleaning practices where food is handled. Make sure even the smallest amount of food residue is cleaned up. Roaches can live off crumbs and even droplets of food.
- Store food supplies in airtight plastic or glass containers as roaches can eat through paper or cardboard.
- Make sure drains in food prep areas are kept clean of food debris
- Fill gaps around windows, vents, plumbing pipes, etc.
Maintaining good cleaning practices is critical in mitigating flies. A clean area reduces odors, food sources, and other attractants. Steps you can take to ward off flies include:
- Maintain a consistent cleaning regimen for areas used for food prep and waste storage.
- Remove waste on a regular schedule to reduce odors that attract flies.
- Keep drains clean and free of biofilm and organic material such as food scraps.
Exclusion methods are dependent on the layout of the facility and how the maintenance is handled but can include:
- Use of door, window, and vent screens that are well maintained and cleaned.
- Automatic doors or air curtains to prevent flies from entering when doors are opened.
- A relatively inexpensive alternative that seems to be very successful against flies is hanging Little Trees Vanillarama air fresheners over entryways. Flies seemed to be disturbed by the smell, what started as a “lifehack” viral video ended up being quite effective.
Is Your Business Protected?
If your business is not actively guarding against pest infestations with a scheduled service plan, you need to contact us today!