The current pandemic caused by COVID-19 has left many businesses struggling with tough decisions. And the sudden implementation of social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders may have required you to halt operations without enough time for a proper shutdown.
With less human activity to disrupt them, pests have been more freely roaming the outdoors and commercial properties in search of food to survive. Unfortunately, forgotten food in the breakroom, overflowing dumpsters and unsealed cracks can all make your business a prime target for hungry pests. And the last thing you’ll want to return to after this stressful and uncertain time is a pest infestation at your facility.
Rodents and cockroaches are two of the biggest pest threats for non-essential businesses that are closed due to COVID-19. These pests not only reproduce rapidly with the right conditions, but also can spread harmful germs and cause structural damage throughout your property. And it’s worth noting that pest activity that grows into an infestation while you’re away could delay the reopening of your business.
Maintaining your IPM plan can be difficult, especially if your business is closed during a global pandemic like COVID-19. However, even while your business is closed, you should continue your pest management activities — form a plan with your provider (pest control has been designated as an essential service during this time) to help keep pests out and get back to business in no time.
Pest sightings have increased notably in cities, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear if you’re in a suburban or rural area. No matter your location, it’s important to help make sure your property doesn’t have easy access points for pests to get inside. Be sure to:
- Seal any cracks and crevices in walls, near pipes and drains.
- Install weather strips around doors and windows.
- Check HVAC systems and vents to make sure they are working properly.
A clean environment helps eliminate ideal pest conditions, so make sure to put the following in place before reopening:
- Adjust your waste removal schedule to avoid trash overflow. Lock your dumpster after use to help prevent pests from hiding inside.
- Clean up spills and leaks immediately to help avoid excess moisture.
- Clean drains to help prevent any buildup and waste that pests can feed on.
- Disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces in your facility with a powerful disinfectant like Orkin® VitalClean™ to kill 100% of bacteria and viruses, and also sanitize soft, porous surfaces.
Upon reentry – or better yet, periodically while your business is still closed — be sure to conduct walk-throughs of your facility and record any pest sightings or activity in a log for your pest control provider. They will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan, as well as provide a better understanding of any weaknesses in your current IPM plan.
A key component of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is prevention. Use these tips as a checklist and work with your pest control provider to help put your business in the best position to reopen. Also, consider going one step further to help your employees and customers feel protected by learning more about Orkin VitalClean, a service using a disinfectant on EPA’s “List N” of products for use against SARS-Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
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