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Top 10 pests for commercial properties and facility management

Today's commercial property and facilities managers oversee a broad range of facility types, from office complexes to mixed-use retail spaces and more. As with many facilities serving multiple businesses, they are usually highly trafficked. As such, there is specific attention on appearance, cleanliness and sanitation, and even food safety.

And that's why any pest problem can be cause for concern.

Shared spaces can mean shared pest problems

Commercial properties face a unique problem that not many other industries do when it comes to pests: shared walls, ceilings, and common areas. The failure to act fast to resolve a pest issue can mean that "small" pest problems can quickly become larger.

Pest sightings in common areas – lobbies, foyers, bathrooms, cafeterias, and break areas – can be a turn-off to employees, visitors, and potential tenants. Insect and rodents travel from these areas into occupied spaces and areas that house electrical wiring and equipment, creating further issues.

Pests that make it into work areas can cause disruption, lead to employee morale issues, and more. Some pests, such as bed bugs and cockroaches, can even be introduced by employees, who unknowingly bring pests from home when the insects sneak onto or into their personal belongings and then crawl out once they are at work.

Mouse in the house with droppings

When pests invade electrical or boiler rooms, ceilings, and even workspaces, they can cause serious damage. Rodents, such as mice and rats, have been known to gnaw on wiring, which can not only damage expensive equipment, it can also create fire hazards. Some species of ants are attracted to electrical equipment, swarming to it in huge numbers, which can cause power disruptions. Cockroaches and other pests can hide in these areas. Left undisturbed, their populations can grow and move outward into public areas.

What are the top 10 pest problems for commercial properties?

Rentokil looked at more than 75,000 services conducted in 2017 in commercial facilities to determine the top 10 pest issues facilities and property managers face. Here are the most common pest concerns that these facilities face:

  • Rodents - Rodents, especially rats and mice, were identified as an issue at a rate more than 4 times that of any other pest. This suggests that commercial properties should pay special attention to their rodent management programs. A property's risk for rodent problems can increase depending on location, structural condition, neighboring properties, and more.
  • Spiders - These eight-legged creatures get into buildings through small cracks and crevices, through vents and pipes, and on deliveries and personal items. Spiders spark plenty of fear among people, which can turn the sighting of a single spider into a much larger issue.
  • Night-Flying Insects - Moths and other night-flying insects can be attracted to facility lighting, and make their way inside through open doors and windows, cracks, and crevices. Talk to your pest management professional about your lighting. He or she may be able to make suggestions on how to reduce attraction.
  • Miscellaneous Flies - This catch-all category includes a variety of fly species other than house flies. However, much like house flies, these pests can be a nuisance and create food safety risks.
  • House Flies - House flies get into facilities the same way people do – through open doors. While breeding is rarely a problem indoors, no one wants flies around. The presence of houseflies can be an annoying distraction at best, and a food safety and sanitation hazard at worse. They can carry and spread pathogens to surfaces and food. To reduce the likelihood of a fly problem, review your pest management controls for common entry points and loading docks.
  • Small flies and gnats - Small flies can be a big issue for commercial properties. These pests often become a problem near drains, in office kitchens and break rooms, restrooms, around plants, in janitorial closets, near trash and recycling bins, and in other areas where moisture and organic debris build-up are problematic. On the exterior, gnats can be a problem, especially in warmer weather months. They can be especially annoying to office workers who need to walk through swarms to get inside.
  • Occasional Invaders - This broad category covers a host of occasional invader pests that can sometimes plague buildings (both inside and out). Such pests include boxelder bugs, stink bugs, silverfish, earwigs, and centipedes -- just to name a few.
  • Ground Beetles - Crawling beetle pests of all many species are often just visitors to a facility, brought in on shipments and deliveries or making their way in through open doors or cracks. Always inspect deliveries for signs of pests. You can also talk to your pest management provider about performing proofing or exclusion services to seal cracks and crevices. Installing door sweeps to prevent these pests from crawling under doors, is also a great way to keep beetles and other pests out.
  • Crickets - These occasional invaders don't often show up in large numbers indoors, but when one does manage to find its way inside, it makes itself known. A chirping cricket is the ultimate ventriloquist, making them hard to find, and disrupting workplace quiet.
  • Pavement Ants - It should be no surprise that these ants – which get their name from their proclivity to nest near or under sidewalks, asphalt, and foundations – are a common problem at commercial properties. With parking lots and walkways, these small ants can easily march inside in search of warmth or food and water.
common commercial property pests

Don't forget to look up

Of all areas within a commercial facility, the roof is often neglected when it comes to pest management planning. However, pests can be a problem up high too, especially for facilities that have flat rooftops.

While they didn't make the top 10, birds – especially pigeons – can often be a problem for commercial properties. Birds will use rooftop areas to take up residence, scout for food, and rest. That can be problematic because of their droppings, which are corrosive, and can damage structures and create an unattractive mess.

Birds can also be a serious issue on rooftops, home to some of a building's most critical equipment: the HVAC system. These units can be attractive to birds because they produce warmth and sometimes offer shelter. Birds nesting or resting in these areas leave behind droppings and feathers. These items can find their way into the air system, obstructing airflow. Droppings and feathers can also carry a number of pathogens and parasites that can be harmful to humans.

Resolving bird issues requires a knowledge of local, state and federal laws, an understanding of bird biology, and awareness of the sensitive nature of bird management. If you have a bird issue, work with a company that has experience in bird management. Rentokil can help develop a plan that is safe, humane, and works for your organization.

Do you have a bird problem? Download Rentokil's Complete Guide to Integrated Bird Management.

Design a pest management program for today's commercial property

Many of today's commercial properties are becoming full-fledged campuses to serve a modern workforce and public. Integrating work with life and offering modern amenities from food options to gym space, personal services and deliveries, and more. These options, albeit attractive to employees, only increase the chance of pest issues with an influx of people and goods.

Be sure that your pest management program suits your facility's unique needs. Call Rentokil today for a free inspection and recommendations on how to design an integrated pest management program that is customized to address the specific risks your facility faces.

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