“It’s not easy being green.”
While Jim Henson’s lovable Muppet character may be right, it is possible to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits using “green” pest management practices. But earning this nationally accepted benchmark for sustainable building practices requires a little extra effort—especially when it comes to pest control.
So, before you leap into action, try incorporating the following procedures into your maintenance routine to help reduce the environmental impact of your facility’s indoor and outdoor pest control efforts.
- Get a jump on pest control. It all starts with Integrated Pest Management, – or IPM —and IPM starts with proactive sanitation and maintenance. Your building will need a written plan with documentation for all procedures used in your pest management program. Thankfully, your pest control professional can help with this step.
- Holster any pesticides until you really need them. You will need to communicate recurring pest problems to your pest management professional and work with him or her on appropriate non-chemical solutions. It’s important also to work together in identifying action thresholds for all pests likely to be encountered in your building. (Action thresholds are the point at which you’d take programmatic action.) Then, make sure pesticide applications are only being used in areas where pests are active. This means your pest management provider must first identify the pest, assess the situation, recommend non-chemical solutions, and then only use targeted applications of least-risk products as a final recourse.
- Determine when to raise the alarm. There’s no need to panic if a single fly enters your building. But a bed bug infestation is cause for serious concern. Work with your pest management professional to develop a list of pest problems that would require an emergency application of pesticides.
- Communication is key. LEED mandates, under normal conditions, that you notify occupants of any pesticide applications other than least-risk products at least 72 hours in advance. A reputable pest management company will be well versed in LEED procedures, and they can help you craft a comprehensive treatment notification plan for your property.
- Write it all down. Documentation is essential to LEED compliance. Be sure to maintain all records and documentation, including the complete written plan, action thresholds, sighting reports, recommendations and service reports, in a logbook or electronic file. Also, evaluate how well your program is doing on a regular basis. Consider at least annual review meetings with your pest management professional and IPM team so you can make adjustments as needed.
Give these tips a try if they fit with your building’s plan, and always be on the lookout for other practices to help minimize pest pressure and environmental impact.
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