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Keeping Pests From Taking a Winter Vacation in Your Business

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Days are getting shorter. Leaves are changing color. The wind coming off the bay feels a little colder every day. We hate to say it, but now is the time to be preparing for what could be a long winter in New York City. Anything that would be a small annoyance in summer becomes a much bigger, more vexing issue when it’s 10 degrees below zero. That goes double for pests. When you get up on a dark winter’s morning to go to work, you want to know you have a warm, comfortable place waiting for you. The paranoia that rats are going to be crawling over your feet or cockroaches are going to pour out of drawers is going to make getting out of your cozy bed feel unbearable.

Pests want a place to feel cozy and comfortable away from the cold this winter just like you do. Around this time of year cockroaches, rats, and flies are looking for a vacation home to shack up and wait out the cold winter. Unfortunately, that vacation home could be your business. a few good habits and preventative practices will go a long way toward making sure your business doesn’t wind up harboring any unwanted winter vacationers. Make note of these helpful tips and have at least one fewer thing to worry about. Then you can try to enjoy how beautiful the city is in winter. Well. You can try to tolerate it.    

Winterize your Building

You should get these ideas out of the way first, because you won’t want to be traipsing around your building in the cold and snow. Before then, do a lap around the perimeter of your building. Look for gaps, holes, cracks, loose weather stripping, doors that don’t close tightly--anything that creates even a tiny access point into the building. Look especially closely where gas, water, and other utility lines enter the building, as those tend to be favorite routes for rascally rodents. Make sure your windows all close tightly and securely, as well. Window sealing wears down over time, and can wind up being a vulnerability bugs and other pests can exploit.

man with white hair in t-shirt applies caulk to underside of window frame from outside

Seal any of these would-be entrances with whatever is most appropriate--fresh mortar or concrete, replacement weather stripping, insulation, even simple screens. Mice can fit through the tiniest cracks, so anything you can notice is probably worth buttoning up. This will also help you save on heating! Cover any chimneys and stovepipes with screens, and make sure those screens aren’t made of a material that is easily bitten through.

One more thing you may consider on your sojourn into the great outdoors is looking for any unruly shrubs or long branches near your building. Mice and rats love to use foliage like this as ladders and bridges into your business. A little autumn trimming sounds kind of nice, right? Ok. Well. It sounds better than rats doesn’t it?

Kitchen Cleanliness

Kitchens in the workplace are similar to your first place with roommates. Who’s supposed to clean this? Anybody? Alright. If you remember, however, the old “ignore it and it’ll go away” strategy didn’t work back then, and it certainly won’t work now. Keeping the food storage area clean and secure is one of the most important things you can do to keep pests out of your business this winter. Keep any food you store in your workplace overnight in a tightly sealed plastic container. If you can keep this container in a cupboard or drawer high off the ground, even better.

 Small grey mouse sitting his way through a loaf of bread

Don’t leave unwashed dishes sitting in the sink or on the counter when you leave for the night. Food remains are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for pests, and if you let them at it, they’ll show up like hipsters to the newest Brooklyn brunch joint. You’ll also need to vacuum floors and wash down surfaces regularly. Sugary crumbs like the ones left by your favorite donut attract pests like nothing else. Finally, take all the garbages out frequently, not just the ones in the kitchen. Probably the most common reason we see pests take up residence in someone’s business over the winter is that there was a garbage can in someone’s office that they “forgot” to take out for a couple weeks.

Think back to those salads days in your first apartment. When you and your roommates had those battle-of-wills to determine who would break down and clean the place first, who won? Nobody. Make a cleaning schedule at your work, assigning your employees and co-workers “chore” days. We know it’s a pain to do cleaning like this at work, but it really beats the alternative, trust us.

Deploy the Employees!

If you keep your workplace clean and you’ve patched up the gaps that naturally occur, you’ve already done more than most to prepare for winter pest invasion. Unfortunately, though, there tends to be a lot of ground to cover at businesses, especially if you operate a warehouse or similarly-sized space. That’s why it’s important that you don’t try to pesky pest tide yourself.

Get your employees in the habit of watching for signs of possible infestations. Encourage them to point out places where pests might be getting in, or spots that are typically missed when cleaning.

employee in reflective vest with clipboard in warehouse

Worrying about pests shouldn’t be a big concern of yours; that’s what we’re for. If you can take the time to implement these suggestions into your working routine, they won’t be. Make a point to be hygienic in the workplace and watch for problems, and you’re well on your way to a pestless winter. If you do happen to get pests despite your best efforts, don’t be embarrassed. NY rats have survived this long by being really, really good at finding ways to steal room and board. Should this happen to you, give us a call. Assured Environments has been dealing with pest problems every winter since 1934, so the cold doesn’t bother us at all. Ok, well, it doesn’t bother us much.

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