When it comes to construction, pest management probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But whether you’re renovating an existing space or building a new foodservice operation from the ground up, it’s important to include pest control in your construction plans. If the right precautions aren’t taken, construction can attract unwanted attention from pests.
Construction projects can disrupt the sanitation and maintenance programs you have in place at your establishment, which can affect the success of your pest control program. It can also displace pests from their habitats, causing erratic behavior such as rodents running around in broad daylight, completely exposed.
The good news is that there are a variety of proactive measures you can take to help prevent pests from becoming a problem during construction.
The first step you should take before construction even begins is meet with your pest management provider and contractor to discuss the role of pest management during the process and make sure everyone is on the same page.
A licensed and experienced pest management provider can do several things: implement measures to help prevent pest issues, manage any pest issues that pop up during construction, and provide insights on building materials and locations that will be the least conducive to pests. A pest management professional can also help prevent your construction from becoming a source of pest infestation for your neighbors – if pests are displaced on your property, they may look for shelter in neighboring buildings.
Here are just a few examples of the tactics your pest management provider may recommend:
- Assess pest activity in the area prior to construction to determine what measures should be taken to reduce pest populations before, during and after construction.
- Understand geographic conditions favorable to pests. For example, selecting a location for your facility near a water source might create additional pest pressures.
- Sufficiently grade the property to prevent puddles since moisture attracts pests like mosquitoes and termites.
- Inspect all incoming raw materials for pests before exposing them to the construction site.
- Consider using proper building materials to help prevent termite activity and apply a termiticide barrier to the property.
Getting your contractor on board is important because he or she will need to take the lead on keeping pest management a priority during the actual construction work. You’ll also need the contractor’s help to get the construction crew on board with precautionary tactics, including keeping construction sites as clean as possible. All workers should be aware that food, trash and wood debris left behind can attract pests, and should be disposed of daily.
In addition to your own property, don’t forget that construction at nearby properties can also cause pest threats. In places like Manhattan, where new high rises are consistently popping up, rodents are often displaced, which may lead them to your establishment. Be aware of the construction going on around you, and take extra precautions as needed to thwart the added pest pressure.
Finally, when construction is complete, continue to work with your pest management professional to maintain an Integrated Pest Management program (IPM). An ongoing IPM program will help keep pests – and the threats they pose to food safety, customer satisfaction and ultimately your bottom line – away from your operation.
Win Higgins in an entomologist and Quality Assurance Manager for Western Pest Services, a New-Jersey based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets. Learn more about Western by visiting www.westernpest.com.