By Jim Fredericks and Cindy Mannes
Self-storage facility owners work hard to maintain high business standards and ensure that customers’ belongings are protected from theft, damage and exposure to the elements. Some of the protective measures put in place, including pest control services, represent an ongoing expense to maintain conditions of cleanliness and safety.
As homeowners carefully consider their budget and operating costs, some may wonder whether they should invest in professional pest control services or attempt a do-it-yourself approach. While it can be tempting to handle things on your own, pest control should always be left to professionals trained and licensed in the industry for a number of reasons. These include the size and number of structures that can be present on a property, the many types of pest infestations, and the need for long-term peace of mind when it comes to protecting a property’s reputation. installation.
Keep units pest free
Self-storage facilities are particularly prone to pest infestations, as units tend to remain closed for long periods of time. This allows pests that have been introduced or entered the units from the outside to create nesting areas and not to be disturbed. Once a pest has entered a storage unit, it only needs a small entry point to enter and infest others.
Since operators typically have little control over what is stored, it is important that you are aware of certain items that attract pests, such as food, live plants, and even bags or boxes of paper items. A trained pest control professional will help you define the types of items that attract pests so that you can be in the know when asking customers about the goods they plan to store. A professional can also point out structural vulnerabilities as well as potential nesting and refuge sites.
Regardless of how they get into the unit, once inside the unit, pests such as rodents can multiply quickly and cause damage by gnawing and defecating on property. Other pests, like bedbugs, can be brought home unknowingly by the unit owner, creating an infestation in their residence. These and other parasite-related scenarios can negatively impact the facility and reputation of the self-storage business as a whole.
Why call on a professional?
Finding ways to prevent and eliminate pest problems can take a heavy toll on self-storage operators, including those who are unsure whether they need a professional supplier or how to select a qualified one. Pest control professionals are specially trained in the science of pests as well as the treatments that work best for each species and type. They also include the application of treatment methods depending on the type of installation and the conditions present.
Pest control is not a one-stop shop. A rodent invasion is not treated the same way as an ant, bedbug, cockroach, or termite problem. Additionally, there is more variation in treatment methods when further broken down by pest species. Each infestation presents a different set of challenges, and pest management professionals are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and tools to address these issues.
In addition, understanding the biology, habits and effects of certain parasites on human health and property also distinguishes between professional expertise and internal surveillance. By bringing in a pest control company, operators gain a trusted partner to help prevent problems and eliminate those that arise in a timely manner. This helps to ensure that customer property remains intact and free of pests.
Choose a partner
Selecting a pest control professional does not have to be a daunting task. By using a few helpful tips and using good judgment, you can be sure you are partnering with the right professional. Your pest control company should be able to help you remove infestations, reduce pest problems, and maintain your property. The following three recommendations will help you choose:
Evaluate pest control companies that are members of national, state, or local pest management associations. Look for companies that actively participate in their national, state, or local association, as these memberships demonstrate their commitment to protecting public health and property. These companies tend to wish to receive continuing education on new processing technologies and techniques. Professional memberships usually mean that these companies will also strictly adhere to state and federal regulations.
Search for companies and ask for recommendations. Word of mouth referrals tend to be some of the best sources, whether in residential or commercial settings. Find out about businesses from other storage operators who may face similar challenges. When meeting with a prospective pest control professional, always ask about their pest management practices and other clients they serve in the industry, and ask for referrals.
While it may be tempting to choose a business based on cost alone, it is imperative to evaluate multiple businesses, their services, warranties, and references. These factors are often used to better assess the quality of service and the long-term satisfaction you will receive.
Understand service agreements. Once you’ve chosen your pest control partner, carefully read the terms of the contract to fully understand which pests and services are covered. Also understand any guarantees that can be given before finalizing the deal.
There are a number of responsibilities associated with operating and maintaining self-storage facilities, but pest control is not a DIY duty. Don’t doubt the value of partnering with a qualified pest control company. As professionals develop and implement a comprehensive prevention and treatment plan, you are free to focus on the other important aspects of running a successful business.
Dr. Jim Fredericks is Chief Entomologist and Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs, and Cindy Mannes is Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization with over 7,000 members. It was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to protecting public health, food, and property. For more information visit www.pestworld.org.