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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Bad Neighbors (AKA: STOP feeding the animals!!!)

I was giving a webinar on rodents last week and someone asked a brilliant question: what can you do when the pest problem is coming from a neighboring property? This happens all the time.

The quick answer is that there is nothing you can do. If you have tried talking with them and tried to get them to hire a pest control company and they won’t, you have to deal with it. There are also situations where the neighbor can’t do much about it. I’ve dealt with food processing facilities that are next to cattle feed lots, warehouses that are next to dumps or recycling plants, and museums next to public parks. Then there are the residential situations where pests may be coming from a property just feet away or multifamily housing where the pests can be coming from the very next room. If pest control were easy, everyone would be doing it!

The longer answer to this question is of course there are things that can be done. Identification is always the first step so we need to know what the pest is and where it is coming from. Let’s take the example of the person who asked me this question; their problem was rats that were coming from a neighboring business to their food facility. Since we know what direction they are coming from, defensive measures can be increased on that side of the building. An increase in bait stations, and possibly traps, needs to occur in that specific area. This way, there is plenty of bait for those rodents coming over and they will be knocked down.

Sanitation becomes particularly important, but maybe not in the traditional “clean up all the food” sense. In this case, the sanitation is the habitat. On the food facilities property (since we can’t do anything about the neighbor’s property), that area should be as open and hostile to rodents as possible. Eliminating all the trees, shrubs, and large plants makes that area unprotected. Rodents don’t want to be out in the open where there are predators and if there are no hiding spots, they aren’t going to want to build their homes and forage there. It also makes the bait stations much more effective: they become the only hiding spot in the area for rodents who are brave enough to wander in.

The last line of defense is exclusion. While we always want to make sure that all doors and openings to the building are sealed, it is going to be extra important to keep the one side of the building sealed. This means additional inspections will be needed to identify problem areas before they let rodents in.

While none of this eliminates the problem (because the root of the problem is on the neighbor's property), it does reduce the risk of those rodents getting into the food facility. If a “standard” pest management plan was put in place and stations equally spaced around the account and landscaping ignored, it is quite likely that rats will get in and infest. Knowing where the risks are, and putting up the correct tools in the right places makes for a better prevention model.

I can’t do anything about my neighbor who puts out tons of birdseed (in little dishes on their driveway too!!!), but I can make sure I have adequate rodent control around my house. This way, the increase in rodents eating all the birdseed from their property, get knocked down with the control measures I have in place.

If you are struggling with “neighbor” problems, contact us to see how we can help you. While we can’t take care of the neighbors, we can take care of the pests they are creating!

360 PFCS – your urban pest control consultants.

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