The Impact of Landscape on Pest Pressure - March 2018

May 30, 2018, 08:47 AM by Fred Speer

With spring upon us and warmer weather in the forecast, facility and property managers will turn their attention to improving the aesthetic look of the property surrounding their facilities.

While a well-maintained landscape adds intrinsic value to a commercial facility, it can also negatively impact pest pressure levels and increase the threat of pests gaining access to your facility, products, and customers.

Landscaping provides a physical harborage for pests like rodents, flies, certain species of beetles and stinging insects, and a ‘safe’ location to establish nesting locations.

Facility and property managers should form a partnership with their pest control provider and with their maintenance department or landscape contractor to ensure that the exterior landscape of their facility is properly designed and maintained to help reduce pest pressure.

Standard maintenance practices – regularly mowing grass and trimming trees and bushes, removing weeds, and thinning out or replacing densely overgrown shrubs and bushes with less dense varieties - will help eliminate the following pest drawing cards:

  • Food Sources - Vegetation in close proximity to structures can provide pests with readily available food sources. The sweet, sugary sap that 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.
  • Harborage Locations - Rock or brush piles, dense foliage or ground cover, and mulch make for the ideal harborage location. 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 a non-attracting buffer zone.
  • Access Routes - Trees, bushes, and vines touching the structure provide pests with access to exterior walls and roofs where they can gain entry into your business. Pests including roof rats, squirrels and ants will use tree limbs to access roof areas of a building and then gain access to sensitive areas of a facility through vents and other openings.

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

Performing regular maintenance tasks such as 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 help prevent pest-attracting standing water or excessive moisture. 

While conducting an exterior inspection with your maintenance department or landscape contractor to identify landscape conditions conducive to pests, be sure to take a 3-D view - not just ground level. Look for openings in the foundation, around window and door openings, and around gutter and roof systems where pests can gain access.

Also, be sure to look for any power lines, vines, bushes or trees that are touching or within 6 feet of the roof. Other areas to inspect would include equipment ‘boneyards’, seldom used storage areas, and waste management areas. Weeds in these areas provide attractive harborage locations that can lead to large pest populations and eventually to interior infestations.

Additionally, look for signs of stinging insects that have established nests under eaves and overhangs, trees or around outdoor signage.

Partnering with a pest professional that really appreciates your business and the nuances of pest biology will ensure inspections of these areas take place regularly. A true professional will note all conditions conducive to pest activity and will then communicate with you about these areas and work with you to develop workable solutions.

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help your company create a culture of food safety as well as deliver exceptional results and outstanding client care, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.