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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

If You Build It... (AKA: I'm tired of the noise)

construction trash

My neighbor is doing some home repairs, refinishing their walkout basement. (Am I jealous… yep a little!) There have been different people coming and going, supplies coming in and trash coming out, and lots of open doors. I have run into many pest issues that started when construction projects were initiated and continued after the job is done.

My neighbors have two doors that lead out from their basement and while I have noticed, those doors have been constantly open. When a larger, commercial site is performing repairs, additions, or new construction there are typically even more openings that are… well… open all the time. Pests use this opportunity to get in and find a great new place to start colonizing. I know there are rodents in the area because I test and monitor different bait stations and traps I have around my house. While these will reduce the population, it won’t completely eliminate it and those rodents that may get in could even be walled in or find voids that wouldn’t be there if there were no repairs going on. It also leaves a literal open door for insects like cockroaches, flies, plaster beetles, and more to walk in and find a great new space to inhabit. Those open doors also let in a lot of moisture, setting up great conditions for wood roaches, plaster beetles, and other mold feeding insects.

I once had a large commercial site that was infested with wood roaches. Since these are mainly outdoor insects, it was tough to believe they were coming from the inside. Once we narrowed it down, it was in a wall void, with wood framing, that had been installed a year previously. The wood had gotten wet and the wall had gone up anyway over it, with the addition of a few cockroaches. They had plenty of newly rotting wood to grow their colony.

My neighbors are also creating quite a bit of trash from pulling out all the old material, scraps from the remodel, even lots of cardboard boxes that now sit outside on the ground. For a few weeks now. Thinking of larger sites, this construction trash is much more and likely sits around for much longer. This creates perfect habit space for many of our pests, and it puts them much closer to the structure: exactly where we don’t want them. When construction is ongoing at residential or commercial sites, try to make sure the trash and recycling is removed quickly to prevent those breeding spaces.

It’s trash day today, and I can see two TV boxes (why do they need two?), a dishwasher box, and a couple of trash bags that have who knows what in them. They apparently couldn’t walk them up to the street for trash pick up which means they will sit there for at least another week. One more week for pests to get comfortable in their new home.

When my neighbors started their remodeling project, I made a point to check my outside stations and do a good inspection of my ground level entry points. While construction can increase the chance of pests coming into that site, it can also increase the pressure on neighboring sites. Construction can force pests out of their habitat and drive them to a less disturbed area.

The neighbors are so close, an easy jump for rodents

I worked in New York City on several tricky rodent jobs. So often there were nearby buildings being gutted that rodents were evacuating. The next building over was more safe and secure and had food that the first site had lost.

Construction happens. It may be a residential situation or a commercial account and both present problems. Open doors are an open invitation and debris from the job is a great habitat and sometimes food source. It may not even be at your site, it may be your neighbor’s construction driving pests to you. You can plan for this, put preventative measures in place, and protect your site during and after these jobs. Don't build a home for pests! When is your next construction project going to start? Contact us for more on making sure you are protected!

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