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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

It Happens in the Best of Places (AKA: I see dead things)

Even on vacation, there’s still a part of my brain that is thinking about pests. Once it gets into your mind, you can’t not see the flies around the buffet or not think about the mosquito borne diseases when you see the bed nets. One of the reasons I like to travel is to see new places, experience new things, and see how other people live and work. In some ways it is very different, in some ways, it is very similar. Here’s a story that could have happened almost anywhere.

The hotel we were staying at was a fairly nice place: it wasn’t five stars, but it wasn’t a no-star hostel either. Walking out of the room one afternoon, it was obvious they had done some treatments in the hallway or one of the nearby rooms. There were a number of dead cockroaches on the path.

This isn’t abnormal and it could happen nearly anywhere in the world, at almost any hotel. Particularly in warmer areas, there are cockroaches and when you have lots of people with a ready food source, cockroaches happen. These were American cockroaches which are found throughout the world

Here's where the situation compounds. Later that evening, I’m walking back to the room and the dead cockroaches are still on the ground. But now, the ants have gotten to them. The dead cockroaches have now become the new food source for a different pest. From there, the ants can quickly migrate into nearby rooms and cause issues inside guest areas.

This isn’t just limited to cockroaches. Not removing dead small mammals from wall voids can attract flies and hide beetles. Leaving dead rodents in traps can attract other rodents (yep, cannibalism), ants, and flies. I even had a situation with ongoing psocid issues. The facility would knock them down, but didn’t clean up the dead ones. Those dead ones became the food source for the ones they missed and the population kept rebounding.

The moral of this story? Clean up your kills. Sure, you have eliminated the pest that was being targeted (cockroaches), but you have now created a new pest issue (ants) by providing a food source. Sanitation! Plus it looks bad for customers to see a bunch of dead cockroaches on the ground. Even worse for them to see dead cockroaches being eaten by ants.

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