Green Pest Management in a Difficult Time
By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | May 19, 2010
Everywhere you turn these days you see the phrases "green," "environmentally conscious," and "sustainable." These buzz words have encouraged consumers to think about reducing their environmental impact, whether that means changing to a new product or altering habits. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 93 percent of consumers say they are in fact "very" or "somewhat concerned" about the impact they are having on the environment. As a hotelier you most likely have already put green practices in place. You may provide guests with limited laundry service or organic toiletry products. But, in a down economy it can be costly to introduce additional green practices and products to your hotel. A relatively easy way to green up your hotel is by evaluating your pest management practices.
A great way to green your hotel's pest management program is to employ an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. A proactive approach to pest management, IPM uses methods like sanitation and facility maintenance to block pests' access to your facility and their basic survival needs. IPM helps prevent pests from setting foot, wing or tentacle into your facility, rather than waiting until they are already established.
IPM is a process that has great efficacy when you work alongside your pest management provider as a partner. But, is it really worth it? Is it just as effective? Yes and Yes. An IPM program takes a comprehensive approach to pest management, incorporating everything from how rooms are cleaned to when and how pest infestations are dealt with. Before beginning an IPM program, it is important to understand the common "hot spots" in hotels that attract pests like cockroaches, bed bugs and rodents.
Closely monitor these areas to help ensure pests aren't making your hotel their new home.
- Foodservice Areas: Kitchens and dining areas attract pests and rodents looking for a steady food source, from left behind crumbs to improperly stored food.
- Guest Rooms: Bed bugs typically live within 15 to 20 feet of their food source, human blood, so guest rooms are the perfect breeding ground for these flat, oval-shaped insects.
- Laundry Facilities: Leaking washers and other excess moisture provide pests like cockroaches with a water source for survival, while dryer lint provides them with a food source.
- Employee Areas: If your hotel has employee locker and break rooms, be mindful that employees often store food in their lockers and can leave behind crumbs that attract pests. Employees also may unknowingly bring pests inside on their clothing and belongings.
- Storage Areas and Closets: Dark closets with many cracks and crevices become breeding and hiding places for pests. Areas that store mops and other wet cleaning supplies also attract pests seeking moisture sources for survival.
Once you have identified the common pest "hot spots," the first step to "greening" your pest management is to put an IPM program into place, if you don't already have one. The second step is to utilize the many different aspects of IPM to your advantage. Following are several environmentally friendly pest management practices that can help to prevent pests without making a dent in your bottom line.
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