Spring has officially arrived and for certain parts of the western United States it couldn’t arrive soon enough. This winter featured storms of historic proportions from record snowfalls in the Sierras and Cascades to drought busting rainfall in California.
While Mother Nature’s fervor was felt across the Pacific Coast, pest populations, as they usually do, escaped relatively unscathed. The cold temperatures and snow in eastern Washington and Idaho weren’t nearly enough to eliminate overwintering pest populations.
In fact, this winter’s weather created conditions quite conducive for pests to survive and thrive. Whenever there is wet weather, pests are happy; moisture is one thing they need to survive. With snow and cold temperatures extended into March, pest management professionals have not been able to make preventive exterior treatments around facilities as we typically do.
What does this mean for pest pressure levels as temperatures begin to rise in the coming weeks?
Jared Wallace, regional manager at Sprague, views back to back wet seasons (winter and spring) to create ideal breeding conditions for house flies and other pests.
Wallace says precipitation levels in Eastern Washington are triple the normal levels and that creates potential for large pest populations in spring season. In Pasco, Washington, Sprague’s service technicians are dealing with large numbers of stink bugs and box elder bugs on the outside of structures.
“The ground around commercial facilities is likely to remain wet for a while and offer pests a ‘friendly’ environment to breed,” says Wallace. “When temperatures rise, it may yield some very strong pest levels. It could be the perfect storm.”
With indicators pointing to increased pest pressure and the likelihood of more sightings and trap activity in and around commercial facilities, the burden shifts to facility managers and their pest management services providers to be proactive and deny pests access.
Wallace and his team are assisting clients’ lockdown their facilities through exclusion, sanitation and cultural practices.
There is plenty to do - from installing insect light traps and replacing the unit’s lamps to capture early spring flying pests trying to gain access through loading dock doors and wall or roof exhaust vents, to installing door sweeps to keep rodents and other crawling pests out.
In addition to insect pests, rodents are a constant threat to commercial facilities. Rodents are sensitive to seasonal changes and will seek shelter and food indoors when temperatures hit the extreme in either direction. Exclusion in the form of installing door sweeps, keeping exterior entrance and loading dock doors closed, and sealing cracks and openings in the foundation are “must do” elements of an effective exclusion strategy.
Four Ways to Prepare for Increased Pest Pressure
- Focus on exclusion practices including installing door sweeps, repairing vent screens, caulking and sealing gaps around windows, doors and foundation.
- Repair cracks in floors to deny pests, like ants who live under cement slabs, from gaining access.
- Make sure sanitation protocols are followed and perform a deep ‘spring cleaning” on processing equipment, etc.
- Keep up on landscape management practices – trim trees limbs and overgrown vegetation, remove leaf piles and other landscape debris that offer a home to pests in close proximity to your facility.
Need to get a jump on protecting your facility from rising pest pressure? Contact our pest management experts at Sprague for innovative solutions to virtually any pest situation.