News > Want pest-free buildings? Start by educating residents.
Want pest-free buildings? Start by educating residents.
July 23, 2021
Residents can be a crucial part of your pest control strategy.
We do a lot of pest control work in multi-family residential buildings, so we know it can be tough: In large complexes, the sheer number of tenants and residents, resident turnover, multiple common areas and garbage rooms can make regular pest infestations feel almost inevitable.
But it doesn’t have to be.
We recently talked about how when 4 key pillars of pest control are in place, it’s possible to achieve a pest-free multi-unit residential facility. But once you’ve got them, you need to ensure that the people living in your property become your allies in achieving and maintaining a pest-free building.
The good news is that just about every tenant or resident you have will tell you that they definitely want to live in a pest-free home.
How to get residents on board:
1. Make sure they know that building management is committed to a pest-free environment. This seems straightforward, but in fact many residents assume that ‘management’ doesn’t really care about the quality of the living conditions. Make a positive pest-free message part of your lease agreements or welcome packages, encourage your on-site superintendent to communicate the message that management does care and is investing in pest-control measures, and consider pest-control signage in common areas. You might be surprised at how much your residents will appreciate the evidence of your efforts.
2. Encourage your superintendent or on-site manager to speak openly and positively about your pest-control (and pest-prevention) efforts. Some property managers avoid talking about pest control because they think it’s embarrassing – but a ‘secret’ approach either makes residents think you’re not doing anything, or that it’s such a big problem that you’ve had to call in a top-secret special ops team to fix it. Being open about your efforts gives everyone more confidence.
3. Provide your residents with information about common pests. Many people don’t know what a German cockroach looks like, so if they see one in their kitchen they might just assume it’s a random bug that flew in and not say anything to their superintendent – until that one cockroach has turned into a huge infestation. Putting posters in common areas or handing out pamphlets to new residents will give them the knowledge they need to raise the alarm earlier.
4. Don’t shame tenants who report signs of pests. As pest control experts, we know that pests happen even in the cleanest, tidiest, most well-maintained home. A person who reports signs of bed bugs shouldn’t be made to feel bad – maybe those bed bugs hitched a ride from the 5-star hotel the tenant stayed in a couple of weeks ago. More importantly, if residents know that they’re going to be shamed, scolded or ridiculed for reporting a pest problem, they’ll stop reporting pest problems, meaning they won’t get identified until they’re much more difficult to fix.
5. Keep pest prevention top-of-mind. Encourage superintendents to remind residents about being mindful of pest identification and prevention; use posters and message boards in common areas to remind residents to be observant; ensure that garbage areas and ground-level entrances are well-maintained on an ongoing basis; make pest inspections a regular part of the superintendent’s job – all these things will help residents and the property management team keep pest detection, prevention and control top of mind and therefore make it easier to nip problems in the bud.
Pest-free means stress-free.
Even the largest multi-unit residential buildings can get to a pest-free status – as long as everyone involved has the information and knowledge they need.