As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, regional pests will look for a vacancy at hotels across the country in search of food, water, and overwintering sites where they can wait out the chilly temperatures. Many fall and winter pests like ladybugs, stink bugs, kudzu bugs and box elder bugs are considered occasional invaders—pests that don’t typically infest hotels to feed and breed, but can often become a problem during the winter months. While occasional invaders don’t usually pose any serious threats to human health or to your property, they can pester your guests, which in turn can hurt your reputation and bottom line.
Whether the invader is seasonal or longstanding, you can work to keep them out of your facility with Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM programs are well suited for hotels because they do not rely solely on chemical treatments. Chemicals are only used as a last resort, and then only in highly-targeted treatments. What’s more, IPM tactics around your hotel can work year-round.
Pests need food, water, and shelter to survive, and hotels provide all three. With an IPM program you can help prevent entry in the first place and eliminate the other two needs to stop pests from staying around if they do get inside.
Lobby and other entrances at your hotel provide pests with a choice opportunity to crawl or fly their way inside. But you can help slow them down and keep them out with the right defenses. Install automatic doors at high-traffic entrances, which create fewer opportunities for pests to pass through. You should add door sweeps and weather stripping to minimize any gaps at all entrances.
To help keep flying pests out, you can create an air curtain that pests have difficulty flying through by vertically mounting fans on either side of a doorway. You can also work with an HVAC professional to make sure you have positive airflow.
To avoid serving up any accidental meals, vacuum, sweep, and mop lobbies and public areas on a daily basis. Empty trash cans frequently—including recycle bins—and use liners and tight-sealing lids to restrict odors from escaping and attracting flies. Work with your maintenance team to fix any leaks, whether it’s a faucet, ice machine or dishwasher, immediately.
In your kitchen, keep dry goods in tightly sealed containers, and use an organic cleaner around kitchen and floor drains to break down tough grease and grime that collect in these areas, which can attract flies and other pests.
Keep receiving areas clean, well-lit and uncluttered—clutter gives pests a place to hide. Close all containers with airtight lids and store them at least six inches off the floor and 18 inches away from walls.
Work with a pest management provider to set up a custom IPM plan for your hotel, and start taking these steps to keep pests out when the cold weather comes.
Regional Pest Outlook
Here is a forecast of the pests that are active this time of year throughout the different regions of the country:
Southeast- Spiders, roaches, ladybugs, kudzu bugs and ants
Atlantic states- Stinkbugs, ladybugs, crickets and spiders
Northeast- Stinkbugs, spiders, roaches, ladybugs, kudzu bugs and rodents
Midwest- Box elder bugs, Asian lady beetles, spiders and rodents
South Central U.S.- Crickets, ground beetles, rodents, birds, spiders and ants
Pacific and Northwest U.S.- Spiders, ants, rodents and cockroaches
Ron Harrison, Entomologist, Ph.D., is Director of Technical Services for Orkin and an acknowledged leader in the field of pest management. Contact Dr. Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orkincommercial.com for more information.
Photo credit: Carpenter Ant via Bigstock