Remodeling can do wonders for a hotel’s online ratings and guest satisfaction. But, before hoteliers invest time and money in new furniture, paint colors, and landscaping, they should add pest management to their renovation timeline.
Renovations open hotels to pests. With construction crews traveling in and out of buildings, piles of construction materials left out, and accumulating trash from crews, properties become vulnerable to cockroaches, rodents, flies, and other pests. At the same time, renovation is one of the best times to implement pest control methods because the newly emptied areas make the space easier to treat.
Pests vary by location and seasonality, but there are steps hotels can take to help prevent pests from derailing a property’s remodel, no matter what stage of the process it’s in.
Before Demo Day
Meet with a pest management professional prior to construction to evaluate existing pest activity, implement preventive measures, and discuss possible treatment plans. After rooms are empty, discuss with a pest management professional which rooms have had activity and may need a more in-depth treatment plan.
Also, plan to start construction during the driest part of the year, if possible. This decreases the chance of pests harboring in standing water and damp construction materials. Don’t forget to check local regulations if laying a new foundation—the hotel will probably need a termite pre-treatment. This barrier should prevent foraging termites from reaching the foundation, and thus, the wood in the hotel.
Choosing the Right Materials
Consider using lumber that is pressure treated or composite and therefore resistant to insects. Siding materials such as vinyl, stucco, or other non-wood materials make a good choice. While more expensive upfront, these materials are often more durable against pests long-term.
During the Renovation
Construction sites that are clear of food and drink waste avoid attracting pests. Also, keep building materials off the ground on pallets and cover all materials at the end of each day to protect them from the elements. Damp conditions attract pests, including termites.
If knocking down walls, treat for termites before new drywall goes up. Termites hide within the walls, so once those walls are covered in fresh paint and art, termites are often out of site and out of mind.
Seal off old pipes that will no longer be in use. These can be hideouts for pests and may give them direct access inside the property. Also, make sure all doors and windows are flush against frames and install weather stripping to prevent small, crawling pests from slipping into the building. Remember, some pests only need a fraction of an inch to get in.
Checking Curb Appeal
Avoid planting fruit trees and flowering plants right next to the hotel as these attract flies, yellow jackets, rodents, and other pests. Outside, consider installing LED lights instead of sodium vapor or florescent lights, as some pests are less attracted to LED lights.
For termite treatments to be most effective, the final pre-treatment applications should be completed after final grading and landscaping as to not disturb treated soil.
Use an HVAC professional to create positive airflow into the building. When doors open, the air should push flying insects outside, instead of sucking them in.
Update the hotel’s integrated pest management program to reflect the newly renovated building and upgraded amenities. Work with pest management professional to train hotel staff on pest prevention, inspection, and protocols. A hotel’s team is the first line of defense against future pest infestations.
While renovations can stir up pest populations, proper preparation and diligence during the process can help prevent pests from tarnishing the hard work put into a remodel.
About the Author
Chelle Hartzer is technical services manager for Orkin. She is a board-certified entomologist and provides technical support and guidance across all Rollins brands in the areas of operations, marketing, and training.