Taking a Break with Pests (AKA: Bugging out on work)
I’m on semi-holiday right now. Working is a whole lot better when you can be sitting, watching the ocean, sipping your tea, and eating a wonderful pastry from the local bakery. (Shout out to the amazing Mon Delice Bakery) Speaking of being on holiday, there’s a lot to consider with pest control and vacation rentals. It may be a nice little one room cottage, or it could be a large condo complex. Either way, there will be guests...and there will be pests. Sometimes they are the same thing.
I’m sitting here looking at the Atlantic Ocean. Wherever you might be, there will be specific pests in those areas and that’s the first thing that has to be identified. This will vary by region (state) and area (beach, mountains, etc.). Of course, the time of year matters too. If you are up in the northeast in the middle of summer, you are going to be dealing with the infamous black flies. In the desert southwest in the fall, there are going to be spiders and scorpions to deal with. Where I am now, and this time of year, it’s not terrible from a pest perspective of what’s outside. There will definitely be some no-see-ums but lovebug season hasn’t started up yet.
Indoors, you are looking at most of the same pests. German cockroaches, ants, small flies, bed bugs, and a few more. There are three main reasons vacation rentals are going to differ from the standard residential or multi-family pest control.
First, you have a higher turnover. Even if it is a seasonal, 3-month rental, there will still be four different parties using the site. No matter how responsible people are, if you don’t own the place, there will be a little less care taken. Sanitation will not be as good, floors won’t get vacuumed as much, and doors will be left open longer. There will be more opportunities for pests to enter from the outside or be carried in. Since folks will be in and out more, there is a higher chance of someone bringing in bed bugs as compared to a typical residential site where folks may travel a few times a year. If the place is being rented on a weekly basis, that’s up to 52 chances of bed bugs being brought in.
Because vacation rentals are typically catering more to families, groups, and more than just a single person, there will be more food. Sure, you are going to eat out a bunch. I’m not passing up on some of my favorite restaurants here. Chances are, people aren’t going out for every meal. There will be a trip to the grocery store for the staples, probably some breakfast and lunch ingredients, and snacks. There will be more take-out, and more leftovers (sometimes!). More food means more pest potential with cockroaches, ants, rodents, and other scavenging pests. Trash will likely spend a little more time sitting inside than what would typically happen in the home. The takeout will be eaten in front of the tv, or out on the balcony, or elsewhere in addition to the kitchen. Add that in with less vacuuming, sweeping, and other general cleaning, and those crumbs and dropped bits are sitting for longer just asking pests to come eat them.
The last thing that makes these accounts different is there can be more down time between visits. It’s pretty easy to catch an ant issue early when you are there all the time and see the ants trailing inside. But a vacation rental may stay empty for weeks or even months with no one seeing what’s happening on the inside. Those weeks to months allow pests to find the food and expand their populations between visitors. The larger a pest problem is, the harder it is to treat it and the longer it will take to successfully eliminate it.
All of these opportunities for pests to occur and thrive can mean visitors will walk in to a bad experience. Bad reviews will ensure and there have been lawsuits initiated over bed bugs. If you have a vacation rental, or service these accounts, there are ways to mitigate the problems. We can help with that! Until then, I’m going to enjoy the remainder of my holiday and get another pastry.
Urban pest consulting
Lagniappe - when things go VERY wrong with a vacation property: