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Keeping Pests Out of the Workplace

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As National Pest Management Month draws to a close, and the warming weather sets pests on the move, keep an eye on your workplace habits to see if you’re contributing to a pest-prone workplace.

Even if your business has ongoing pest control, bugs and rodents have ways to sneak in without some extra care taken by you and your employees, says Carl Hirschfelder of Florida Pest Control. In addition to the obvious aesthetic issues, pests in the workplace can be responsible for illness, nuisance to employees and customers and, let’s face it – they’re just plain gross.

Here are a few simple steps he suggests to avoid an infestation:

Keeping a clean desk is a key to keeping your office pest free.Encourage Employees to Keep a Clean Workstation

It’s hard to keep employees from having an occasional snack at their desk, but snacks can quickly become the meal of choice for a variety of office pests. It is okay for employees to keep snacks or meals in their desk drawers if the food is fully and carefully sealed, but you’ll always have a few employees who just aren’t neat enough.

Leftover food and crumbs are bad enough, but even a cluttered desk or work area can provide a good home for any number of pests. Clutter provides nesting material and a comfortable hiding area for roaches and even rodents.

Remove Water Sources

Available water is one of the prime reasons that offices will attract pests, especially rodents. Rodents like mice, rats and squirrels are some of the most common workplace pests, and they can be difficult to remove without a rodent control company stepping in. Luckily, you don’t always need a pest control company to get rid of a small infestation. Removing water sources like leaky faucets or an air conditioning drain that puddles outside will help drive off rodents that would rely on it to live.

Watch Your Fruit

Any food left around an employee’s desk will eventually attract bugs, but fruit is one of the top culprits. Since fruit is so sugary, pests of all kinds are attracted to it, so it’s important to make sure that employees store fruit properly in the refrigerator or take it home at night.

Do the Dishes

Just like at home, dirty dishes and counters are a surefire way to attract ants, roaches and flies. If you have a kitchenette area for employees, institute a policy that requires employees to wash dishes thoroughly after each meal.

Check Office Plants

Office plants can quickly become home to a number of little pests if not properly cared for. Bugs like mosquitoes are probably uncommon, unless you leave your office windows open, but you may begin to see small bugs that look like fruit flies anywhere near an office plant. Fungus gnats are incredibly common in offices with plant life, and are mostly caused by incorrect watering. If you have someone who tends to office plants each week, let them know about the infestation, or just put a layer of sand over the potting soil to discourage egg hatching.

Clean Your Perimeter

The exterior of your office is often just as important as the inside, especially if you have an outdoor loading area or a place where employees congregate to eat or socialize outside. Here are a few common steps you can take to avoid pests.

  • Keep all garbage in a sealed dumpster or container away from the office wall. Trash is one of the most common attractants for pests of all kinds, from bugs to rodents.
  • Gutter cleaning is a commonly overlooked step in the fight against pests. Messy gutters provide homes to wasps, mosquitoes, roaches, ants and more. Gutters should be allowed to flow freely and deposit water well away from your office walls.
  • Clean outdoor eating areas regularly to remove crumbs and leftovers that will attract pests.

Photo Credit: Matthew McVickar via cc

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About Brian P. Russell

Brian Russell lives in University of Florida's Gator Country. He enjoys exploring new places and learning new things, plus sharing what he's found with others. Turnoffs include double spaces after periods and emails with unneeded CCs. He plays H-O-R-S-E at 3 p.m. EST every weekday at 352 Media Group.
  • Ankit Thenua

    hi, I just wanted to say how much i enjoy reading your blog. in a world full of spin, it’s nice to get some fact-based analysis. keep up the good work.