Managing Pests Through Vegetation Management

Oct 26, 2019, 10:52 AM by Fred Speer

A well-maintained landscape adds to the curb appeal of a commercial facility, but it can also contribute to unwanted pest pressure and an increased threat of pests gaining access to your facility and negatively impacting products and people.

What do landscape plants, bushes and trees and pest pressure have to do with one another?  Landscaping can create a living space for a variety of pests including rodents, ants, termites, cockroaches, certain species of beetles and stinging insects.

As summer winds down facility and property managers need to include vegetation management in their maintenance schedules.

Mike Andrew, manager, corporate agriculture quality assurance for Clark, says fall is the time make sure weeds and other vegetation is cleared through proper landscape management practices and the use of post-emergent herbicides.

“You want to make sure your grounds are cleaned up and weeds do not have the chance to germinate before the winter rains come and they take hold,” says Andrew. “Overgrown vegetation close to structures not only offer pests like rodents, gophers and squirrels harborage but an easy food source as well.”

Andrew says the application of pre-emergent herbicides in late fall and early winter will help prevent weeds from becoming an eye sore and a detriment to your grounds in the spring.

There are other ways facility and property managers can lessen the threat of pest pressure caused by overgrown or poorly maintained vegetation.

  • Smart Landscape Design

    Facility and property managers can mitigate the threat of pests taking advantage of the landscape around a structure by making sure the landscape is properly designed.

    Pests will use shrubs, ornamental grasses, plants, trees, mulch, leaf piles and landscaping debris as a nesting site and staging area to attempt to access a facility. This close-in proximity to loading dock and entry doors, windows, utility openings, and HVAC and ventilation openings can be a real headache.

    While mulch may look attractive, it holds moisture and is attractive to cockroaches, ants, spiders, beetles, and termites. Maintaining a two-foot band that is free of grass, plants, or other organic material around the foundation will help create an unattractive pest buffer zone.

    The sweet, sugary sap that certain plants produce is an attractive food source to ants and stinging insects as are the aphids that also come to feed off the plants. Fruit trees, date palms, Algerian ivy and boxelder trees are great examples of food sources that are very appealing to many insects. Remove their shelter and food and you’ll reduce pest pressure.

  • Stay on Top of Maintenance Work

    Standard maintenance practices including regular grass mowing, trimming trees and bushes, removing weeds, and thinning out or replacing densely overgrown shrubs and bushes with less dense varieties will help reduce pest drawing cards.

    Tree limbs, bushes, and vines touching a structure provide can give pests such as roof rats (a growing problem on the West Coast), squirrels and ants access to exterior wall and roof vents and openings where they can gain entry.

    Excess moisture is another attractant for pests and maintaining a positive airflow around plants located near the structure will help prevent moisture build up.

    Repairing broken sprinkler heads, sloping ground away from the building, directing sprinklers and downspouts away from structures, and using stone, rock, or other non-absorbent landscape materials will also prevent pest-attracting standing water or excessive moisture build up 

  • Look Up, Down and Around

When performing an inspection to identify landscape conditions that could attract pests, make sure to take a 3-D view - not just ground level, and examine the structural well-being of your facility.

Identify cracks and openings in the foundation, around window and door openings, missing or torn screens, and openings around gutters and roof systems that give pests a chance to get inside.

Inspect equipment ‘boneyards,’ seldom used exterior storage areas, and waste management areas. Weeds and overgrown shrubs in these areas provide attractive harborage locations that can allow pest populations to grow unchecked.

Make note of any structural items that need to be corrected and make sure the work is completed in a timely fashion.

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands all the pest management and lawn care needs of your business and delivers exceptional results and outstanding client care, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.