TAKE ACTION IN SPRING TO KEEP UNWANTED INSECTS AWAY ALL YEAR
Spring is when critters come out of a winter hiatus in search of three things: shelter, food and reproduction. Facility managers should be watchful as the seasons change for signs of
pest activity. You can head off an infestation by springing into action with these
A Natural Nuisance
Warmer temperatures and longer daylight are a signal to most pests that the
threat of winter has abated. It’s likely that
your building has already been home to
pests seeking shelter from the elements.
Common invaders seen in the spring
include wasps, bees, ants, mosquitos, lady
beetles, termites and spiders.
While insects don’t hibernate the way
that some mammals do, many enter a
dormant state, explains Doug Webb,
Manager of Technical Services with
Terminix. When temperatures are more
pleasant, they start to rebuild their numbers. Termites, for example, are notorious
for swarming during the months of March
to May as they head to a new colony.
Spring will also produce an uptick in
ant activity, says Chad Gore, Entomologist
and Market Technical Director with
Rentokil North America. Their colonies
enter a growth mode where they forage
for food, attend to their egg-laying queen
and provide resources for the whole army.
Lady beetles, the odorous biting cousin
to ladybugs, are also likely to overwinter
in straw or mulch beds or attic spaces,
Webb notes. If they’re inside your build-
ing, spring is when they will swarm out
through small cracks and openings.
While mosquitos are associated with
summer, they emerge from hibernation
and begin to lay eggs once temperatures
are consistently above 50 degrees F. at
night, Webb explains.
Signs of Infestation or
As you tackle your spring cleaning
list, pair maintenance activities with pest
inspections. Most pests can be spotted
with your bare eyes – a trail of ants or
termite wings are an obvious red flag –
but your building and its grounds can
have many overlooked spots.
When you clean out docks, backrooms
or storage areas, look for mice or rat
droppings, recommends Webb. These
spaces might not have been monitored
well during the winter if they aren’t climate controlled. Remove general clutter
so it doesn’t provide nooks and crannies
Inspect all weather stripping and
caulking for sources of air and water
leaks, Webb adds. Envelope gaps not
only create thermal transfer but also let
in sources of moisture that pests need
for survival. This also applies to the foundation and roof, which may have snow or
Review the condition of dumpsters,
which offer an enticing buffet of food for
many pests, Gore notes. Metal trash bins
with rusted holes should be repaired or
replaced. All outdoor waste containers
should be located several feet from the
perimeter so they don’t create a highway
into the building.
Warehouse spaces should consider
investing in screens for their dock doors
to deter flying insects. Even if those
don’t bother people, they can be a food
source for spiders, which in turn attract
birds, says Webb.
as Pest Control
Though spring is a natural opportunity
to refresh your landscape, make sure
that your plants aren’t inadvertently
encouraging insects and animals to make
a home. Take care of the following items
to decrease chances of pest activity.
Trees and shrubs: Trim back so they
don’t touch the building. If branches
and limbs drape over the roof or brush
against the facade, they create a natural
bridge for pests, says Gore.
Mulch: Only use sparsely. The purpose
of mulch is to retain soil moisture, but
that also provides a water source for
pests. Avoid continually adding layers of
mulch – when it’s several inches thick, it
creates protection from the summer heat,
says Webb. Stone is a better alternative
because it will still retain soil moisture
but is less hospitable to pests, adds Gore.
Flowering plants: Avoid planting
ornamentals near the perimeter, under
windows and next to entrances because
ANTS AND OTHER SPRING INVADERS emerge when warmer temperatures and longer daylight signal that the threat of
winter is over. Spring is prime time for pests to emerge and begin foraging and rebuilding colonies.