Sitting in the Seat of Power (AKA: Government pests)
I don’t think I have ever written about something like this. It is a bit niche, and many people never run across this type of account. Then again, every account is a bit different and special in its own way. This week, let’s talk about pest control in government buildings.
What’s the big deal? It’s a building, it has pests, why is there any difference between government buildings and any other site that needs pest control? Great questions, thanks for asking!
Government buildings can range from a town courthouse that is hundreds of years old to a brand new USDA research facility. It’s always hard to lump all of these together, but there are underlying commonalities and some specifics that do not occur in other types of accounts. Here are some considerations for these sites.
There are typically a lot more humans coming and going from these sites. Even small local government buildings have constituents coming and going for many of reasons. Large facilities obviously have greater numbers of people. With more people movement comes more opportunities for pests to enter…in many ways! It’s not just the doors being constantly opened, possibly propped open, and often not sealed well, it can be people bringing in the “bugs”. Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and have been found in public buildings. Cockroaches, particularly german cockroaches can come in with people's lunch bags. Package deliveries are usually in higher volume and with packages comes the risk of delivering in rodents. Basically, there are many more access points that pests could be using to gain entry.
There is often a great deal more security. For people, not for pests. This means extra time getting into these sites, areas that are very difficult to access on a regular basis, and possibly escorts that need to follow you around as you do the service. It will take more time to service these sites. Add to that, buildings have many “sections” to them. There will be kitchen areas or cafeterias, at least break rooms with food. Office areas provide countless hiding spots, warmth, and feeding material for other pests. Older buildings may have basements and/or attics (who knows how long anyone’s been down there!). New facilities may have tunnels, wall passages for wires or pipes, even laboratory areas for pests to hide. So instead of having a single commercial kitchen to inspect and treat or a single home, there are now 3 or more types of “accounts” all bundled into one. It’s important to remember all the supplies needed, keys to get into all areas, a shadow (AKA your escort) if needed, and all security clearances needed. Even your ancient city hall buildings will take more time and attention than a “regular” old house. Make sure you have factored in the extra time needed (and the corresponding costs) to service these accounts.
Treatments become more challenging. With all the people coming and going and working and visiting, you will likely have to do any liquid applications after hours. If people smell any type of odor and know that the “pest control guy” was there last night, they will think they have been exposed. Setting traps gets complicated. Traps should be placed close to where pests are in order to intercept them. But if traps (especially glueboards) are placed anywhere people can see them, they are likely to be set off, removed, or injure someone. Traps have to be placed completely out of sight which means it may not be ideal placement. It also means it is harder to check. A snap trap to the side of a vending machine is pretty easy to get to. A snap trap behind that vending machine means pulling it out, squeezing into the tight space, and checking or resetting the trap. This adds even more time to the service.
I am not implying that all government buildings are the same, no two sites, no matter how similar, are going to be the same. It’s impossible to completely generalize government buildings but a few threads tie them all together. The biggest point to remember is these sites are going to take more time. If service time is calculated on the number of stations, or the size of the site, this will not be adequate for government buildings.
If you want to improve your service at specialty sites (or any sites!) we can help with that, contact us here.
Lagniappe - why I'm writing on this subject today.
Urban pest consulting