If It Crawls or Flies, It’s Probably Bad for Business

If It Crawls or Flies, It’s Probably Bad for Business

A Primer on How to Detect and Control Bed Bugs, Roaches and Flies

As the old saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity. But if you’re a hotelier, restaurateur, food retailer or manage just about any kind of facility meant for human inhabitants, the converse is the reality when it comes to issues around pest control. There is zero chance that a publicized pest control issue is going to be good for your business.

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to completely avoid pest infestation issues, especially in dense urban environments like New York City. According to a 2015 study by the (Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr)), 90 percent of all U.S. businesses surveyed suffered at least one pest infestation in the past five years. In fact, respondents reported pest infestations occurring on average just under three (2.8) times over that period. This equates to a troublesome one infestation every 20 months.

Like it or not, all businesses have to deal with issues related to pest infestation. And while any one infestation is not likely to be a fatal blow, it can certainly cause a host of problems. These could include issues related to maintenance and repair expense, the need to replace expensive stock due to the contamination of raw materials and ingredients, and even lowered staff morale. And if that infestation becomes public, the implications are even greater.

Three pests that are a primary source of headache for New York City businesses are bed bugs, roaches and flies. Thankfully, these unwelcome guests are fairly easy to detect and treat – and even avert with the right preventative program in place.

This guide is meant as a primer to help facilities managers structure an approach to pest control that can help to avoid potential issues – and reduce the likelihood of infestation and the problems that can result.

“U.S. businesses stated key concerns relating to pest infestation also include the loss of reputation (65 percent) and risk of compensation claims and fines (66 percent).” -Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), September 2015

How to Spot and Detect Bed Bugs, Roaches and Flies

Bed bugs, roaches and flies…oh my. While they might be less deadly than lions, tigers and bears, they can certainly be costly to your business – especially if you don’t spot the issue until it’s too late. Catching the problem on time can be a minor inconvenience. Being too late could result in publicity issues which can be especially damarging if you’re in the hospitality sector of restaurants, hotels or retail food – and even worse if you’re a well known business and a perfect story for the 6:00 news.

To help you get a jump on the enemy and find them before they find you, lets review each of these pests as follows:

  • 1. What do they look like?

  • 2. Signs / How you
    can find them.

  • 3. Reasons why they
    might be present.

  • 4. Prevention Techniques


“U.S. businesses incurred an increase of $6.8 billion in their operating costs in 2014 as a direct result of pest infestations on business premises, and a loss of revenue of $13.2 billion.” -Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), September 2015

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have become a serious nuisance and earned a ton of publicity over the past decade. They spread easily due to their “hitchhiker” tendencies – and move place to place using clothes, bags, shoes, etc. With rising urban density, increased international travel and their growing resistance to certain pesticides, bed bugs’ problems are not going away anytime soon. In particular, they’ve been a nightmare to the hotel industry.
What do they look like? Bed bugs are reddish brown with flat, oval shaped bodies. Adults are about the size and shape of an appleseed. They bite too, and because they feed only on blood, are easier to detect after a meal due to their swollen size. Despite their ability to travel, bed bugs do not have wings and cannot fly, hop or jump.

Signs/ How can you find them. Because they are small, hide in cracks and crevices, and are mostly active at night, bed bugs can also be difficult to spot. They leave skin casings as they grow which can accumulate where there is a serious infestation. Additionally, after they feed, they will return to wherever they are harboring and will defecate, leaving clusters of dark brown or black spots of dried excrement. As blood feeders, bed bugs are usually found in places where people spend their time – particularly places where people sleep like mattresses, box springs, headboards, footboards or any furniture that is near a bed. They can also be found in cracks, crevices and gaps behind electrical outlets, as well as in carpeting (particularly when it’s close to a wall). Because of their smell, specially trained dogs can also be used to find bed bugs in a facility.

“… online reviews can do real damage to a hotel if there is just the slightest hint of bed bug infestation.” -The Atlantic, August 2015

Reasons why they might be present. Bed bugs can come from almost anywhere. As hitchhikers, the chance of an infestation is a constant and may not be related to anything you are or are not doing. As a facilities manager, guests and employees could easily be the source of a bed bug infestation – not your lack of maintenance programs.
Prevention techniques. Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to avoid bed bugs. People may unknowingly carry these pests into your facility at any time, especially in high-traffic urban hubs like New York City and the surrounding area. And once you have them, getting rid of them is no easy task. Early detection is critical and employee training is a crucial step in the early detection process. If you suspect that your facility has a bed bug problem, make sure you remove all clutter from the suspected area to make finding them easier and wash and dry any and all affected linens or fabrics using the hottest temperature permitted.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches have been a nuisance in New York City for decades. With attached buildings, a subway system, constant construction, and issues related to things like broken drain pipes, cockroaches thrive in major cities, especially New York and especially during the warmer months. A serious urban pest, they can spread disease, contaminate food, and cause allergies, particularly asthma.
What do they look like? The 2 primary cockroach varieties that can be found in the northeast and New York City are the American cockroach and the German cockroach.

The American cockroach or “waterbug” as they are often called, are the bigger of the two species and can grow to upwards of 3 inches long. They are reddish brown in color and known to be moderate fliers.

The German cockroach can be identified by their light brown or tan coloration – and by two black horizontal stripes located immediately behind their head. Although they have wings, they rarely fly and prefer to run. They are prodigious reproducers – a single female and her offspring can produce up to 30,000 cockroaches in just one year.
Signs/ How can you find them. Droppings are usually the first sign of infestation and are fairly easy to spot. American cockroaches leave droppings in dark places like basements or behind appliances. These droppings can be mistaken for mouse droppings. Egg cases are dark-red or blackishbrown and are found where you also find their droppings. American cockroaches produce a pheromone to keep their groups together that causes a musty smell.

German cockroaches leave droppings that look like small, dark grains of pepper and can be found on countertops or in drawers. Stains from fecal matter will show as dark spots or smears and will be seen in room corners, along door tops, and anywhere there are cracks. Like American cockroaches, they also leave a “musty” odor if present in large numbers.

Reasons why they might be present. Cockroaches travel in search of water or food and enter facilities anywhere there are openings in that quest. Accessible garbage or trash are your biggest enemy – and not just food waste. German cockroaches will feed on toothpaste, soap and even bookbindings and are frequently brought into a facility via cardboard containers.
Prevention techniques. You can reduce cockroach issues by removing or securely storing all food, as well as by eliminating unnecessary water sources. Additionally, the three steps below should be done regularly:

Exclusion: seal all cracks and crevices in potential problem areas such as pipe entries, cabinets, cracked tiles or any additional crack or crevice that would allow entry.

Drain Maintenance: all drains should be clean and free of debris and should always have water in the trap. A dry drain allows cockroaches to climb up the pipe and through the drain.

Inspections: periodic walk-throughs of boiler rooms, injector pits and other areas where there is heat and moisture – the perfect cockroach breeding ground.

Flies

Flies can be a horrible nuisance to employees and customers. They can inflict painful bites, transmit diseases, contaminate food stock and exposed surfaces, and are just unpleasant to deal with. They’re able to easily spread disease as they quickly move from rotting garbage to exposed human food or utensils. Typical fly varieties in urban areas like New York City include phorid flies (or filth flies), fruit flies and the common house fly.
What do they look like? Phorid flies are small, about ⅛” long and are often mistaken for fruit flies (fruit flies have red eyes, phorid flies do not). Rather than fly away when you swat at them, a phorid fly will initially run along a surface away from you.

House flies, familiar to most people, are typically grey with four black stripes on the thorax and have red eyes.

Fruit flies are a species of the common housefly and are distinguished by their red eyes and small bodies consisting of a tan thorax and black abdomen.
Signs/ How can you find them. Phorid flies are most abundant where there is decaying plant and animal matter, and can be found breeding wherever moisture exists around plumbing and drains in bathroom and kitchen areas, garbage containers and disposals, crawl space areas and basements.

House flies are mostly noticed by the appearance of adult flies, and are typically found around garbage where they lay their eggs.

Fruit flies love drains and garbage too – and are particularly attracted to empty beer and soda bottles or cans, as well as soppy mops and buckets.


Reasons why they might be present. Flies love moisture and garbage. If your facility is not kept consistently dry and clean, you can develop problems with fly infestations. Drains must be kept clean on a routine schedule. You may also have exclusion issues where flies are gaining access through cracks, crevices, and grout lines. As the name implies, fruit fly problems can occur wherever there is ripening or rotting fruit which serves as a food source and a place to lay their eggs.
Prevention techniques. Preventing flies from becoming a problem in the first place is focused on a single core maxim – maintain a dry, clean environment. Flies thrive in moist environments. These tips are your best bet:

  • Mop floors – don’t hose or power wash
  • Use floor fans to more quickly dry floors and prevent moisture
  • Clean trash areas and always use a lid
  • Scrub and clean drains on a routine schedule
  • Avoid bleach – use a soap detergent with an enzyme and odor neutralizer to break down organic matter.

For fruit flies in particular, an enzyme based bio-cleaning solution such as Invade Hot Spot should be used to clean all breeding sources including drains, under appliances, under floor mats, around plants, dumpsters and in cracks and crevices.

When to Call the Professionals

Despite all your efforts, sometimes preventative treatments just aren’t enough. After all, humans have been trying to eradicate pests for thousands of years. And yet they’re still here, constantly adapting – thriving even – to the new environments we keep creating for ourselves and that end up being just great for them too. When you reach the point where it’s time to call in the pros, make sure you work with trained, licensed pest management professionals who can deliver innovative, effective solutions to eradicate existing infestations competently and efficiently and offer services like the following. Quality Assurance Inspections In addition to a good preventative maintenance program of your base building – specifically basements, subbasements, boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, and sewers – a professional pest management company can work with your team to inspect and treat other less frequented areas in your facility like plumbing, access pipes and wall voids. Intensive Treatments A licensed, professional pest management company can provide aggressive treatments focused on the most common areas of pest activity like basements, boilers, injector pits, and sewer pipes. This can also include complete pest elimination, including ultraviolet insect light traps (ILTs) and bioremediation. Drain Maintenance Programs Monthly inspections and cleanings are critical to ensuring that drains are clean of debris and always have water sitting in the trap.

If you think your facility has a pest infestation, don’t wait – call professionals who can help make your business healthier, safer, and free of pests.

“Twenty-five percent of those businesses suffering a pest infestation incurred increased maintenance and repair costs, while between 10 percent and 18 percent reported replacement costs due to damaged equipment, materials or finished goods.” -Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), September 2015

FREE ONSITE FLY TRAINING

Ready to arm your staff with the education they need to prevent pest infestations? In addition to providing education on the latest pest control best practices, we offer tips on what you and your staff can to help keep pests at bay.



Pregnant and living in an area with Zika?

Pregnant and living in an area with Zika?


What we know about Zika

  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
  • Zika infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
    • These mosquitoes are agressive daytime biters. They also bit at night.
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
  • Zika can be spread by a man to his sex partners.

What we don’t know about Zika

  • When during pregnancy Zika might cause harm to the fetus.
  • How likely it is that Zika infection will affect your pregnancy.
  • If you baby will develop birth defects from the infection.

Symptoms of Zika

Many people with Zika won’t even know they have it. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

The most common symptoms of Zika are

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Red eyes

CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant

Pregnant?

Pregnant women and their male partners should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

If you have a male partner, either use condoms the right way every time you have sex during your pregnancy, or do not have sex.

If you develop the symptoms of Zika, see a healthcare provider right away for testing.

Testing is recommended for pregnant women at their first prenatal care visit.

Trying to become pregnant?

Women trying to become pregnant and their male partners should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Talk to you healthcare provider about plans to become pregnant.

Your Best Protection: Prevent Mosquito Bites

Clothing

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
  • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
  • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
  • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. they are intended to treat clothing.

Indoor Protection

  • Stay in places with air conditioning or thta use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

Repellent

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, these insect repellents are safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

  • Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Reapply as directed.
  • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.


FREE ONSITE FLY TRAINING

Ready to arm your staff with the education they need to prevent pest infestations? In addition to providing education on the latest pest control best practices, we offer tips on what you and your staff can to help keep pests at bay.



Zika: The Basics of the Virus and How to Protect Against It

Zika: The Basics of the Virus and How to Protect Against It

About Zika

Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and AE. albopictus). People can also get Zika through sex with a man infected with Zika and it can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. People can protect themselves from mosquito bites and getting Zika through sex. This fact sheet explains who’s most affected and why, symptoms and treatment, and how to protect against Zika.

How Zika Spreads

The mosquitoes that carry Zika are agressive daytime biters, but they can also bite at night.  A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person already infected with Zika. That mosquito can then spread the virus by biting more people.

Zika virus can also spread:

  • During sec with a man infected with Zika.
  • From a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • Through blook transfusion (likely but not confirmed).

Zika Symptoms

Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections.

Current Zika Outbreak

Zika outbreaks are currently happening in many countries and territories. The mosquitoes that can become infected with and spread Zika live in many parts of the world, including parts of the United States.
Specific areas where Zika virus is spreading are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. If traveling, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website for the most recent travel information.

Why Zika is Risky for Some People

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetuses to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, and uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.


How to Prevent Zika

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
  • Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Always follow the product label instructions.
    • When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
    • Do not us insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
    • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Prevent sexual transmission of Zika by using condoms or not having sex.

What to do if You Have Zika

There is no specific medicine to treat Zika.

Treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydrations.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

To help prevent others from getting sick, strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the first week of illness.

www.cdc.gov/zika


FREE ONSITE FLY TRAINING

Ready to arm your staff with the education they need to prevent pest infestations? In addition to providing education on the latest pest control best practices, we offer tips on what you and your staff can to help keep pests at bay.