The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on pests has been minimal by comparison to the rest of the world. Cockroaches, rodents and bed bugs don’t know there is a pandemic going on and, frankly, they wouldn’t care even if they did know. They remain focused on identifying easily accessible sources of food and harborage.
The fact that pests aren’t changing their behavior and that shelter in place rules have stopped regular pest management services from being performed in many apartment and condominium complexes, puts residents at a greater risk of having a pest infestation.
What can property managers do to make residents more comfortable with resuming pest management services?
Schedule A Re-Start Service Assessment
The first thing is to get your facility and residents back on track from paused pest management services. What services – bed bugs, cockroaches, rodents – have been paused and have new pest issues cropped up during shelter in place that need attention.
Property managers need to schedule a re-start service assessment with their pest services provider that will kick off with a thorough inspection of all accessible units to find out what’s been going on. During shelter in place pests literally had free run of your property and could have been able to entrench existing infestations, start new ones and reproduce freely.
Catch Up on Backlogged Pest Service Issues
Once your pest management service provider has access to the units in your building there will be a backlog of pest services that need to be performed, especially in units that had pest issues before shelter in place orders were issued.
In apartment or condo complexes, a pre-shutdown pest issue (i.e. cockroach or bed bug infestation) has likely grown and spread to adjacent units next door, above or below, and will need to be addressed.
Determine the Viral Risk
In addition to the risks posed by pests, property managers now must consider the viral risk of transmitting pathogens like coronavirus. Sprague Pest Solutions has expanded its disinfection service offerings and can design a custom program that meets the specific needs of your property.
Currently, the CDC recommends environmental cleaning for businesses as they reopen, and this applies to apartment and condominium complexes as well.
Knowing the live virus will persist in our communities for the foreseeable future, it is important to focus on high touch point areas and areas where residents, employees or visitors frequent even if it is at different times.
Questions that must be answered before a disinfection plan can be established include:
- How many entrances are there?
- What type of entrance controls and what are people touching?
- How many shared spaces are there? Are there laundry rooms, mail rooms, lobby, gym, entertainment, rest rooms, trash (both rooms and shoots)
- What is the office set up and employee risk?
- What will the cleaning and disinfection procedure be for move-ins after a unit is vacated?
What Is the Difference Between Preventive and COVID-19 Positive Disinfection?
It is important to remember that when you design a disinfection plan for your property that frequency is the most important element. Disinfectants only kill a pathogen that is present.
After a disinfection service is performed – by your maintenance staff, professional cleaning service or other vendor – a person can re-introduce a pathogen (i.e. coronavirus) hours later. That is why following a regular disinfection schedule is vital.
There is also a difference between preventive disinfection services and responding to a specific incident where a resident, employee, contractor or visitor test positive for coronavirus.
- Preventive services are designed to reduce the chance a resident, employee or visitor will be exposed to a harmful pathogen and the frequency of service is as often as possible.
- An incident or emergency service is a response to an individual testing positive for coronavirus. The service is performed after a positive or presumed positive case has been detected. In these cases, Sprague’s highly trained disinfection teams will deploy full PPE (gloves, goggles, respirators, Tyvek suits) and will set up a decontamination site for removing the PPE following the treatment.
Create A Disinfection Plan
Once you’ve decided to proceed with a disinfection plan for your property, Sprague recommends you follow these three steps:
Step 1: Decide if this will be an in-house program, something that will be contracted to a vendor, or a combination of both.
Step 2: Make a list of all high touch points and areas of high traffic. (i.e. lobby, mail room, office, common areas, rest rooms, trash shoots and rooms, and door handles)
Step 3: Choose a chemical (if doing in house), making sure it is on one of the three lists from the EPA for efficacy and understand the safety precautions necessary
For more information on how Sprague can assist you restart pest management and add disinfection services in your apartment or condominium complex with the peace of mind you and your residents deserve, call 855.805.0755.