Bed bugs. Carpet beetles. Flies. Pharaoh ants. They may be small – no bigger than a pin prick in some cases – but make no mistake about it, insects can be a huge problem for businesses of all sizes. The reason, of course, is that although individual specimens are often too tiny to even be noticeable – let alone cause any damage or pose a health risk – rarely do any of the most problematic pest species of insect live alone.
On the contrary, if you – or, even worse, a customer – spot just one bed bug, cockroach, black ant, fly or any other insect, you can be almost certain there are others close by. As such, it is only with a robust commercial pest control maintenance plan in place that businesses stand any chance of keeping insect infestations under control.
Species of Pest Insect and the Problems They Cause
Hardy, persistent and voracious, pest insects are notoriously difficult to get rid of. Some, like the carpet beetle – a particular problem in office buildings, as well as hotels, hostels and care homes – have a wide and extremely varied diet. They will feed on everything from carpets to furniture, books, clothing and hair. This means that food sources in such buildings are invariably abundant – more than enough to support a small, undetected community until it grows to immeasurable proportions.
Bed bugs cause different problems for organisations and business owners. Affecting those in the hospitality industry, as well as care home operators, hospitals and housing associations, these insects feed on human blood. This means they make a living from biting paying guests or residents while asleep.
Not only can these bites cause severe discomfort, itching and sleepless nights, but the wound they leave behind is susceptible to secondary infection.
All hospitality, care home and hospital operators need to be constantly alert to the bed bug risk. “Hitchhiking” from room to room – and even property to property – bed bug infestations can quickly take hold, causing untold damage to reputations and leading to much negative media attention (including the social media variety) and costly room refurbishments. As with all pest insect species, securing professional commercial pest control maintenance contracts is the only way to ensure that your organisation is protected against bed bug infestations.
Cockroaches are of particular concern for all businesses that sell or distribute food. This is due to the bacteria the insects carry – including Salmonella and E. coli – and their foraging habits. Cockroaches are not discerning eaters and will feed on everything from decaying matter to mould, animal carcasses and the droppings of birds and rodents. However, they will also seek out fresh food that may be on sale in retail outlets or in the kitchens of hotels, pubs, restaurants, care homes or hospitals. This is where the real trouble is caused. Naturally, as these insects forage around from filthy and bacteria-ridden areas to clean and fresh ones, they contaminate everything they come into contact with – including surfaces, utensils, open wounds and medical equipment, as well as fresh food for human consumption.
Black Ant and Pharaoh Ants
Although ants aren’t believed to carry diseases, the concern is that they travel great distances on their hunt for food and there’s simply no telling what they might have marched through along the way. By the time they get to your fresh food stores, cupboards and work surfaces, the potential for contamination is great – let alone the reputation-ruining consequences of a diner discovering one. What’s more, ant colonies can be massive, consisting of hundreds of thousands of individuals. As such, if there are any signs of ants on your premises, commercial pest control maintenance will be required immediately, as the fast growth and spread of these colonies can be almost impossible to control without professional assistance.
Signs of Infestation
The best way to avoid an infestation of insects of any species is to make sure they are not able to gain a foothold in your commercial premises in the first place.
Regular and thorough cleaning routines are your best defence in this regard. There are two reasons for this. The first is that frequent deep cleans will go a long way to ensuring that your premises are inhospitable to the pest insect species likely to cause you the biggest problems. The second is that thorough cleaning procedures will naturally result in every corner of your commercial property being regularly inspected by your staff, meaning any evidence of infestation will be quickly identified.
This is important. If an infestation has taken hold in your commercial property, you will need a robust commercial pest control maintenance plan in place to get rid of it. The sooner this begins, the less business disruption you will experience.
So – what are the tell-tale signs of an insect infestation you should be looking out for?
Live or Dead Insects
For all species, actual sightings of either live or dead insects should sound alarm bells immediately. Cockroaches and ants are easily identified, although when it comes to carpet beetles and bed bugs you may have to look a little closer. Both are visible to the naked eye, but due to their extremely small size you will need to make a concerted effort to check for them. Look around walls, windowsills, carpets and furniture for carpet beetles. Use a torch to inspect mattresses, linen and towels for bed bugs.
Another sign of insect infestation are eggs. These can be tiny – less than half a millimetre long in the case of bed bugs, although cockroach egg casings (which hold multiple eggs inside) are larger (up to 10mm).
Both bed bugs and cockroaches shed their skins as they grow. These skins are translucent and are shaped like their respective former occupants. If you find shed skins during your routine cleans, this is a clear indicator that an infestation is present, even if you fail to spot evidence of live insects.
A good commercial pest control maintenance plan also means being on the lookout for insect droppings during cleaning routines. Carpet beetle larvae produce faecal pellets that appear peppered around areas of infestation. Cockroach droppings are also detectable. These take two forms. If there is plenty of water available, the faecal matter is more liquid, appearing as brown smear marks; if water is scarce, droppings are solid, cylindrical and about 2mm long. Bed bugs also leave dark faecal stains on linen, mattresses and bed frames.
Bites, Damage and Other Signs
When it comes to bed bugs, guests and residents reporting they are being bitten at night is a sure sign of their presence. Another indicator is blood stains on bedding, caused by the insects getting squashed as people turn in their sleep.
Damage to fabric – including carpets, rugs, furniture upholstery and leather book bindings – will indicate the presence of carpet beetles, usually taking the form of small boreholes where the insects eat through the material.
Finally, be alert to odd aromas. There is often a lingering, unpleasant odour that can be an indication of cockroach infestation. This is often described as being “oily” or “musky” and if you smell it, a more thorough investigation of your commercial property will be required, to see if any other tell-tale signs are present.
Commercial Pest Control Maintenance from Baroque Pest Services
Insect infestations can lead to many problems for all types of businesses. Be they bed bugs, carpet beetles, cockroaches or ants, insects can cause untold damage to stock, property and reputations.
Preventing infestations is an ongoing concern for all commercial operators. Only by securing a comprehensive commercial pest control maintenance contract with a reputable professional company, can you be sure that small insects don’t cause big problems for your organisation.
Baroque Pest Services has over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing bespoke pest control strategies for commercial clients in a wide range of industries. We work with discretion in full support of your business’s precise needs. Get in contact today for a free quotation.
Baroque Pest Services cover Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Torquay, Truro and many other areas in the South West and works with all kinds of industries including: Bars, Pubs, Cafés, Restaurants, Hotels, B&Bs, Nursing Homes, Factories, Warehouses and Organic Farms.
Baroque (SW) Limited was a family business established in October 1988 based in Plymouth. Over 30 years Baroque grew to become the most well-known regional pest control company in the South West of England before joining forces with Safeguard Pest Control in August 2018. As part of the Safeguard family, customers continue to receive exceptional pest control, bird control and washroom services. Every customer is important to us and we take pride in providing a top quality, reliable service. Our emphasis is on serving the customer to the best of our ability and building a long-term relationship of mutual trust and friendship. We have service technicians local to all areas of the South West Counties, so our customers can receive a prompt service from a technician who is familiar with the area and premises. Our experienced office staff are available from 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday to answer any customer queries and give advice.