If you run a commercial property there are a lot of very good reasons you should invest in grounds maintenance. It makes your grounds look better, creates a good impression on visitors, reduces your overall maintenance costs across the year, and ensures your grounds are a safe place for everyone to be. But one of the benefits that isn’t talked about much is the impact grounds maintenance can have on pests – and specifically on keeping them at bay.
Killer Commercial Pests
While there are a wide range of pests out there, commercial premises tend to encounter the same ones time and time again. In fact, pest control company Rentokil did a survey of their 2017 services, and found that facilities and property managers struggled with the following pests most frequently:
Rodents: Generally speaking rodents, especially rats and mice, were the most common pest for commercial facilities. They make themselves an issue nearly 4 times as often as any other pest, with certain businesses struggling more with them than others. They are an incredibly invasive pest and they can get into buildings through even the tiniest gaps, so they can be incredibly difficult to get rid of once they’re there.
Spiders: These little eight-legged creatures are frequent pests in domestic homes, but they can be a real issue in commercial premises too. They get into buildings through small cracks and crevices, through vents and pipes, and even in deliveries or on people. Since spiders are such a source of fear for many people (it’s the most common phobia in the world), spotting even one can become a much larger problem.
Night-Flying Insects: Insects like moths, horseflies and other night flying insects are attracted to light, and when a facility have their lights on during the dark hours it’s like a beacon for them. They can make their way inside using all of those tiny cracks in the building, and will more often than not end up inside a light fixture, or buzzing against your lights.
Ground Beetles: Crawling beetles of all sorts of species are often seasonal visitors, either native or brought in on deliveries. While they might not seem too much of a problem individually, they can spread quickly and cause some pretty severe infestations if you don’t catch them early.
Ants: Ants thrive in pavements, and can often be found nesting under paving slabs, bricks and tarmac. Often they will erupt from the cracks and swarm, and if they are close to the building they can easily march inside in search of warmth, food or water.
Pigeons: And of course, never forget to look up. Pigeons on rooftops (especially flat roofed buildings) can cause a lot of issues. As well as not being very nice to look at, their droppings are corrosive and can damage structures and critical equipment on your roof. They can also attempt to build nests in your HVAC systems, and their droppings and feathers can find their way inside, causing damage and posing a health hazard.
The bad news is, those pests will always be there and be attracted to commercial premises. The good news is that many of them can be reduced, or put off altogether with regular grounds maintenance.
What Attracts Pests
Pests can be attracted to a lot of things, and it varies depending on the type of pest. But looking at the list above, we can see a common theme for commercial premises. Rats are often attracted to a building by doors that come from food and food waste, from bins, and from any unharvested fruit, nuts and leaves that have fallen from trees and are starting to rot. They’re even attracted to birdfeeders! They like to use piles of leaves as a base and create burrows underneath them, and will often take food back to those burrows, attracting even more rats. So if you have any overgrown and stationary areas in your premises, you’re going to be a haven for the local rat population. Similarly if you have a water source in your grounds, like a fountain or pond, rats are more likely to be attracted to it. Mice love long grasses to hunt for food and make their nests, so if your grass and bushes are going uncut for long periods of time, you may well attract mice as well.
Ground beetles and ants are the other pests that will be attracted to your building by the state of your grounds. For beetles and other creepy crawlies in that family, piles of leaves and grass make perfect hiding places, and if you have lots of spots with fallen branches, twigs, leaves and other debris make excellent homes to move into and breed – especially if it’s all sheltered by long grass. For ants, paving, bricks and tarmac that haven’t been weed treated provide a ladder to help them get below and start burrowing, so you will find an increase in ants nests wherever you see cracked, grass-filled paving.
Of course some pests, like flies, spiders and pigeons aren’t too fussed about your grounds, and are attracted by your building itself – its lights and its height. If you’re struggling with these pests, you may need to speak to a pest control firm to put some measures in place.
How Can Grounds Maintenance Help?
The big question here is, how can grounds maintenance help you reduce pests? Simply put, by removing a lot of the things that attract them in the first place! Good grounds maintenance will ensure you don’t have those piles of leaves lying around for months. That your grass never gets too long and that you don’t have lots of random debris lying around waiting to be turned into a summer home for bugs. Frequent weeding means you aren’t providing easy access for ants and beetles to get under your paving and cause damage, and clearing the ground of any fruits, nuts or other organic material means your grounds are less enticing for rats.
Of course, grounds maintenance is only part of the picture for pest control – but it’s often one of the most cost effective, and most overlooked ways to prevent pests on a commercial premises. At Pod Landscapes, we are always keeping an eye out for signs of pests on your property, as well as making sure we are taking all the steps necessary to remove things that may attract them. If you would like to know more about our grounds maintenance services, please get in touch today to book your free consultation.