Controlling trash areas to reduce pest problems

Krissie Callahan

It’s an unavoidable outcome of doing business: garbage. No matter what type of operation you run, you and your employees likely produce trash. That trash, along with the areas in which you discard it, has the potential to attract pests.

Pests in garbage areas could mean pests in your facility

To someone not familiar with pests, this may seem like a non-issue. So what if pests are attracted to a dumpster outside? Most dumpsters aren’t located all that far from buildings. When pests are attracted to dumpsters, they are then in close proximity to your structure, so it’s not too much effort for them to move to your building seeking other food, water, and shelter.

Flies, ants, cockroaches, stinging insects, rats and mice, birds, and wildlife can all find their way to dumpsters and trash enclosures, drawn in by odors and the lure of potential food. Even if your staff takes care to bag all garbage, trash and liquid residues can seep out of bags and into dumpsters and compactors, or onto cement pads, which can continue attracting pests long after trash has been picked up.

The presence of some of these pests can even pose health risks to your employees who access the garbage area. Stings from pests such as bees and wasps, which can be attracted to sticky residues, can sometimes cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Could trash be deterring guests and visitors from your facility?

Unkempt, foul-smelling dumpster and garbage areas can also deter customers from visiting your facility. Trash spilling out of dumpsters, visible pest activity, and strong odors may signal to your customers and guests that your facility is also unclean.

For this reason, many operations choose to use fencing or other types of partitions to keep trash areas out of the sight of customers. However, just because a dumpster or compactor is hidden from sight doesn’t mean it should be allowed to be messy. Pests can easily find their way over or under fencing.

Indoor trash areas may have special needs

Just like outdoor garbage areas, indoor garbage areas can be a source of pest issues, which can quickly become exacerbated since they are already inside the building.

If your building or operation has an indoor trash room or waste collection room, it may require special cleaning and maintenance to prevent pest problems in the room. Cracks in cement floors or walls, floor drains, etc. can accumulate debris and moisture that can allow pests such as small flies to breed.

Trash chutes that lead to these areas can also become problematic; these may be especially prevalent in multifamily buildings and college dormitories. If debris becomes lodged in a chute, it could potentially allow pests to breed in difficult to access areas. Additionally, chutes can create an easy pathway for flying and crawling insects to make their way from the main trash room into other areas of a building. Regular cleaning of these areas can help keep them pest-free.

Speak with your pest control provider and ask them to conduct an inspection of your interior garbage area and highlight areas that may be a potential concern.

Steps to prevent problems with pests near dumpsters and other trash areas

What can you and your team do to eliminate the likelihood that garbage and dumpster areas become a pest issue? Check out the pointers below and download Rentokil Steritech’s Best Practices card for a complete checklist of items.

  • All trash receptacles and dumpsters should have properly functioning lids.
  • Trash should always be placed into dumpsters and compactors in sealed bags.
  • Ensure trash is picked up frequently. You may wish to increase pick up in warm weather months.
  • Set up a regular cleaning rotation for trash cans, recycling bins, dumpsters, compactors, and cement pads.

Utilize an odor management system to reduce the likelihood of attracting pests.

Krissie Callahan
Krissie Callahan

As the Communications Manager for Rentokil North America, Krissie specializes in writing, editing, and shaping both internal and marketing messages for the company. When she's not at work, you can usually find her taking in a live music performance in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.

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