The summer months often conjure thoughts of picnics, sporting events, and lazy days at the beach. But the warm weather also brings more roaches and rodents, the most common unwanted inhabitants in New York City buildings, indoors.
Many people, including pest control professionals, make the mistake of relying on pesticides to keep out these invaders. Unfortunately, this approach kills very few of the pests, boosts the immune systems of the survivors, and contributes to poor indoor air quality.
Prevention remains the best way for landlords to manage these pests. Choosing the right garbage containers and performing strategic maintenance can make your building less welcoming to pests. You’ll improve your property, maintain good indoor air quality, and fulfill your New York City landlord responsibilities at the same time.
Follow these pest-control tips to prevent rodents, roaches, and other critters from moving in this summer.
Pest Control for New York City Building Owners
The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Toolkit provides a variety of solutions to help keep your building unfriendly to pests without using pesticides. This article covers four of the most cost-efficient and effective pest-proofing methods.
Manage the garbage
Maintain the areas where garbage and recycling are stored, whether inside the basement or behind the building. Store garbage in hard plastic or metal containers with tight-fitting lids, and keep enough receptacles to contain trash between pick-ups. Make sure tenants put trash inside the containers.
Block building entry
Cockroaches can squeeze through the tiniest cracks, and even a small hole offers ample access for rats and mice. The following tasks will prevent pests from entering and traveling freely throughout your property:
- Seal cracks and crevices with silicone sealant in the kitchen and bathroom around areas that can get moist, such as the tub, shower, sinks and cabinetry housing pipes. Silicone sealant is more effective than caulk at keeping out moisture, which can help deter pests.
- Replace bent or rusted escutcheon plates around plumbing and electrical piping. Before installing the new plates, stuff the space between the pipes and the wall with copper wool or rodent-barrier cloth to fill in gaps.
- If you plan on upgrading your building’s HVAC system efficiency with new insulation, consider blown-in cellulose insulation treated with boric acid. Boric acid acts as a pesticide that is safe for tenants and their pets when applied to insulation.
- Install landscape fabric and pea gravel around the perimeter of your building to create a barrier that prevents rodent burrowing and nesting.
- Before repainting the walls or replacing baseboards, seal any gaps between the walls and floors, as well as the baseboards at wall junctures.
- Check the exterior for clogged gutters or downspouts. Also, seal crevices near the areas where plumbing or electrical services enter the property.
Request tenant help
Remind tenants to keep food and garbage covered and to reduce clutter. You can also provide them with an area-by-area checklist to help them spot conditions that give pests easy access to food, water and shelter.
- Fallen food around the refrigerator
- Crevices between the baseboards or crown molding and walls
- Cracks where the sink basin and countertop meet
- Small spaces between cabinets
- The gap between the backsplash and the wall (if applicable)
- Gaps near escutcheon plates that cover plumbing and gas lines
- Living Room:
- Gaps around radiator piping
- Crevices where the walls and floor meet
- Missing or loose outlets or fuse box covers
- Any crevices or gaps between the plumbing fixtures (ex. tub, shower, toilet, sink, etc.) and walls or floors
- Decomposing caulk
Maintain an active pest control contract
A licensed professional can help perform thorough, ongoing inspections to identify pest-friendly conditions. In case of an actual infestation, Environmental Conservation Law only permits application of pesticides in tenant-occupied spaces by a certified commercial applicator. (A person may apply pesticides to his or her own apartment without certification.)
New York City landlords have a responsibility to provide a pest-free environment for tenants. For more information, visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
If you have any questions about your building insurance or how to reduce your risk profile, please call our office at 877-576-5200 or post a comment below.