From drain flies and stink bugs to wasps and racoons, pest problems can run the gamut in senior living communities. That’s no surprise to the experts in pest management, but if you tuned into the recent webinar, “Are You Inviting Pests into Your Community?,” then you may have found yourself in one of two situations.

The first, you consider yourself lucky never to have experienced a full-blown pest infestation or dealt with Canada geese loose and wreaking havoc on your property. But in many cases, you may have found yourself with similar questions because you, too, worry about pests from time to time, especially during seasonal changes when pest pressures can ebb and flow.

Missed the webinar? Not to worry! You still can view it here to learn more on how to pest-proof your facility from the outside in. Today, we’ll cover part one of the burning questions from the live webinar attendees during the Q&A portion and what their pest issues all have in common: how to help prevent them.

As a facility manager, you need to know how to handle pest issues before they can become a major problem to your residents. The best way to prevent pest activity throughout your community is through an integrated pest management, or IPM, program. IPM focuses on ongoing inspections, sanitation, facility maintenance, control measures and monitoring. These tactics can help prevent the types of real-life pest issues we heard from attendees, including flying pests, crawling pests and even wildlife.

Here’s the rundown:

  • What’s a good method to get rid of drain flies and fungus gnats?

Depending on which pest you’re dealing with, they can originate from either a very dry drain or one that has organic build-up.

Drain flies are attracted to dry drains, perhaps in a resident room that’s currently unoccupied and isn’t used often.

The second scenario with a gunky drain requires a biological cleaner to break down organic matter.

  • What can be done about mice that have established harborage inside walls?

This is a significant issue that needs to be handled right away. Work with your pest management professional to remove the mice from the structure, which could mean opening the wall up and/or using a control method to lure out and trap the mice. Once the issue is contained, a plan in place needs to be in place to prevent it from happening again.

  • We have an issue with wasp nests around windows. Any suggestions?

A pest management provider can safely remove the nests to help deter future activity. Additionally, the provider may recommend using a residual treatment.

Keep in mind that wasps can try to find ways inside, too. Inspecting the perimeter of any buildings and sealing off potential entry points from chimneys to cracks around windows and doors is key.

  • We’re seeing an abundance of skunks and raccoons. Is that unusual?

Some areas recently have experienced unusual weather patterns that could be driving wildlife out of their habitats and causing a spike in sightings elsewhere. With these sightings, you’ll need to involve a wildlife control specialist for their removal.

Make sure to seal off potential nesting sites, such as higher-void areas and gaps under decks or porches. Also, limit the availability of food attractants by using tamper-resistant garbage cans and always closing dumpsters. This will help make your property less attractive to wildlife.

  • We’ve been fighting stink bugs and can’t keep them out. What are our options?

The IPM tactic of exclusion is key in this situation.

Screen soffit vents and around pipe and plumbing penetrations, especially on the side of the building receiving the most sunlight. Stink bugs like to hang out there and will look for ways inside.

There are restrictions on applications of some products, but talk to your provider to see what options are available for your specific site.

  • Why do we have so many silverfish?

Silverfish are a sign of a moisture problem nearby. Inspect your property for roof leaks or plumbing issues. Once those are resolved, a professional can implement a control measure such as glue boards to take care of the current pests.

  • Do you have any recommendations for bird control, specifically Canada geese?

Several types of natural products can deter geese.

There are extracts that will irritate their noses. Similarly, geese are bothered by UV paint, a clear paint that reflects UV light.

With any type of bird control, multiple strategies are needed. They’re smart and can become accustomed to control measures, so a mix of visual, scent and / or sound deterrents will need to be implemented to be most effective in repelling them and keeping them away from the area.

Whether you’re facing a similar pest issue or have others on your mind, the principles of IPM still apply. Talk to your pest management professional about the right exclusion, sanitation and control measures for you and your community. This will set you up for success in the long-run – putting your residents, visitors and staff at ease.