A Greener Approach to Pest Management

Greening your hotel operations includes your pest management program, and there are natural ways to mitigate pes

By Alice Sinia, Ph.D.

Sustainability and green initiatives are becoming an increasingly high priority for hotel guests looking to book travel reservations, whether they are business travelers or vacationers. Greening your hotel operations includes your pest management program, and there are natural ways to mitigate pest activity.

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is the most environmentally responsible method of pest management, making it safe for your guests and staff. It focuses on proactive, preventative measures through sanitation and maintenance and aims to reduce conditions attractive to pests. IPM should incorporate and build upon the sanitation and facility maintenance efforts that are already in place.  

As IPM is a crucial step along the road to sustainability, it should be an ongoing process during which you assess the pest situation, implement solutions and monitor for any changes in their activity to adjust your program. Use the following tips to implement proactive measures and limit the use of reactive treatments.

ELIMINATE STANDING WATER

Keep machinery like ice dispensers, refrigerators and soda fountains in working order, to prevent leaks or excess condensation, which can attract pests.

Allow proper air circulation in rooms that are prone to condensations. Excessive condensations can lead to moisture buildup on windowsills and walls, which can cause mold and consequently, attract small flies.

DON’T LET AREAS BECOME “OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND”

Storage areas can provide a temporary home for pesky critters such as cockroaches, which like to hide in corrugated cardboard and eat the glue that holds boxes together. Break down and dispose of all cardboard boxes to help prevent these pests.

Drains and pipes can be breeding grounds for small flies. To eliminate any buildup or food debris, periodically remove floor drain covers and scrub the drains with an organic cleaning solution.

Seal any cracks and crevices in baseboards as they provide hiding spots for crawling pests such as spiders and centipedes.

KEEP THE KITCHEN CLEAN

The kitchen serves as a prime location for pests looking for a quick bite. Cockroaches, flies and rodents often congregate near grease runoff and food debris for a quick, easy food source. Along with your daily cleaning routine, implement a bi-annual deep cleaning to prevent grimy buildup that may be tough to remove.

LEARN HOW LANDSCAPING PLAYS A ROLE IN PEST MANAGEMENT

Landscaping can play a crucial role in the overall appearance of your property and provide inviting outdoor spaces for guests to enjoy. Ensure the bushes, branches and other plants in these spaces are regularly trimmed and thinned, as they can serve as a bridge for pests such as ants and rodents to crawl up the walls on the building.

Consider installing a gravel strip around the perimeter of the building. The gravel creates a rough terrain for pests to traverse, and it can deter both rodents and crawling insects from entering the perimeter. 

Hotel management must listen to guests’ needs and consider the impact their current operations are having on the environment, to begin implementing solutions to preserve a better future. While IPM programs are designed to employ proactive techniques to help protect the environment, there are a number of advanced devices and products that can complement your preventative efforts. Ask your pest-management professional for a customized plan for your hotel’s specific pest management needs and greening efforts. 

Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is the resident entomologist, regulatory/lab services for Orkin Canada, focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. For more information, email Alice Sinia at asinia@orkincanada.com or visit www.orkincanada.com.