There’s nothing worse than finding out that your community has been infested with pests. From rodents to insects, knowing what steps to take to exterminate the infestation and prevent future outbreaks is a vital aspect of being a property manager. To protect your community and the residents within it, it’s vital that you and your maintenance team review the warning signs of common pest infestations.
Unfortunately there isn’t one universal sign that shows that your property is infested with household pests. While you might discover rats through chewed up wires, you won’t discover cockroaches the same way. To identify which pest your property is infested with, read up on the warning signs of common pests. Have your maintenance team review these warning signs as well, as they are more likely to spot infestations.
When it comes to rodents, you can usually discover them near your unit’s kitchens. Whether your residents can see it has torn into bags or boxes, or has taken nibbles out of exposed food, this is one of the easiest ways you can find out your rental has rats or mice. Have your maintenance team keep a look out for potential nests. This can be in piles of newspapers, in couches and carpet, and in holes in the walls. Any nook and cranny can develop into a nest, so be sure to check behind your appliances as well. Finally, if the problem is significant, you should be able to tell if you’re infested if you see droppings or smell urine.
As squirrels are much bigger than most rodents, your team and residents should be able to tell right away if your community is infested. Scratching sounds in the walls are a common sign. Check your foundation. Squirrels are infamous for chewing through electrical wires, so you’re going to want to remove these pests as soon as possible.
First things first, if you see a cockroach on your property, then you’re probably infested. As roaches are nocturnal bugs, you’ll most likely discover them at night or in dark areas. You can also discover them by finding their droppings or eggs (which come in light-brown, cylindrical egg cases). Finally, just like with rodents, if you smell something musty then you’re going to need to investigate more.
While termites are a direct threat to your community, they can go undetectable for a long time. As these pests eat and burrow through wood, you can find them in your rental’s walls, floors, and foundation. They often enter properties through cracked or unsealed foundations, so have your maintenance crew inspect the foundations on a frequent basis.
While a few ants are relatively normal, carpenter ants are another story. Just like termites, they burrow and chew through wet, rotted wood and can cause serious damages to your property. If you’re close enough to the hive, then you might even be able to hear them, but in many cases you’ll only discover them if you see them or the damage they’ve inflicted.
Depending on your geographical location and climate, some pests might even be more prevalent in your community’s particular area. For example, locations with high humidity are more susceptible to bedbugs than dry, desert climates. Additionally, certain areas on your property might be more vulnerable to pest infestations, so regularly check your foundations and any other areas that might be moist and dark. Depending on the frequency of natural infestations, you might want to have pest responsibility and warnings written out in your lease agreement.
When dealing with pest control, contact a professional and be sure to review your state’s pest control notice requirements. In California, starting this year, you will need to notify the tenants 24 hours before applying any pesticides (even over-the-counter ones). In addition to written notice, “neighboring tenants that might be affected must also be given notice. If a tenant requests immediate action towards pest problem, the tenant must agree to immediate notice before applying the pesticides.”
No property manager wants their community infested with pests. By learning the warning signs, you can help prevent significant damages from occurring and further protect your community and residents.
What pests are common in your area? Have you ever had significant damages caused by pests?
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