Manage Pest Threats with This Post-Hurricane Checklist

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by BENJAMIN HOTTEL, BCE

Hurricanes pose a serious threat to hotels, especially during peak season from June to November. These monster storms may vary in strength and size, but once they make landfall, they can drench, damage or destroy anything that stands in their path. When the worst has passed and cleanup begins, the storm’s next wave often follows – a cloud of pests.

High-speed winds, torrential rain, and storm surges make hurricanes the perfect storm for pests. During the storm, the water and wind drive most pests to seek shelter indoors. But it’s in the aftermath that flies, mosquitoes and other pests really flourish.

While addressing hurricane damage, the last thing you need to worry about is a pest problem. Use this checklist to help protect your hotel from the threat of pests after a super storm sweeps through:

  • Damage to your hotel’s exterior creates new entry points pests. Close off potential entry points as quickly as possible:
    • Examine walls and window seals for structural damage.
    • Apply screens to all open windows until glass can be replaced.
    • Inspect and repair the roof, gutters, and ventilation screens.
    • Repair bay doors.
    • Replace damaged exterior materials and equipment.
  • Standing water and waste buildup attracts pest with the promise of water and shelter. Be sure to remove excess moisture and debris and limit conducive conditions:
    • Inspect for mold and mildew.
    • Ensure HVAC systems are working.
    • Remove standing water, especially from flat roofs and courtyards.
    • Remove any carpet or upholstery with water damage.
    • Make a plan for waste and debris removal.
  • Rotting food can attract pests during extended power outages. Reduce pest food sources throughout the facility through stringent sanitation practices.
    • Inspect fridges and freezers for rotting food and discard food that has gone bad.
  • Remember you don’t have to face cleanup on your own. Rely on your partnerships to help share the load. Involving your pest management partner can help alleviate pest pressures on your hotel as you repair damage.
    • Report new pest sightings and any uptick in pre-existing pest issues to your pest management partner.
    • Work with your contractors for post-storm building repairs and be sure to ask them to report any signs of pest activity. Share these insights with your provider.
    • Schedule an inspection with your provider to make sure your pest protections from before the storm are still in place.

When Mother Nature throws the unexpected at you, a solid plan for quickly addressing the damage left in a hurricane’s aftermath can lend peace of mind. Then, you’ll want to turn your attention to preparing for the next big storm or extreme weather event. An effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan can help protect your business from pest populations before and after a hurricane makes landfall, so be sure to involve your pest management provider early and often.

Benjamin Hottel is a Technical Services Manager for Rollins. He provides technical support and guidance across all Rollins brands in the areas of training and education, operations and marketing. For more information, email benjamin.hottel@rollins.com or visit www.orkincommerical.com.

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