Your office is no exception in the long list of buildings and spaces that can fall prey to termite and pest damage. Just like your home, shed, garage, boat, and any other outbuilding or item you own that consists of wood, your office can become a haven for the creepy and crawly.
Termites are found on all of the continents except for Antarctica, and there are plenty of other pests that could be causing damage in your office. These can include carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, carpet beetles, moths, and larger pests like mice and rats.
Nipping the problem in the bud before it becomes costly could save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Here are some tips on how to recognize the signs of pest damage in the office:
Pest damage by termites
Unfortunately, termites rarely leave their source of food through which they are tunneling, like the wood beams within your walls. It is common to only discover the termites and the damage they have caused once a building is renovated.
If you have exposed wood surfaces, you can probe them with a screwdriver to look for soft spots, hollowed areas, and a honeycomb-like interior where they have been munching. You can also be on the lookout for flying swarms of termites, though don’t mistake flying ants for termites.
Check around the outside of the building for pencil-sized mud tubes where the ground meets the structure. These are a part of the tunnel systems that connect their underground nests to their food source — your workplace.
Pest damage by Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood in your office, but they do tunnel through it. People are usually first alerted to carpenter ant infestation when they see large black or reddish black ants in their space.
Carpenter ants can also have wings. You may see sawdust-like shavings at baseboards or near areas where they are carving out your wood. Carpenter ants carve ‘galleries’ into the wood that are often smooth and may look like rotten wood.
Pest damage by Powder post Beetles
Powderpost beetles create tiny holes in wood that are slightly smaller than pinheads. They also create tiny feces that drop near where they are feasting.
Adults lay their eggs in the wood and the larvae emerge, then eat the wood from the inside out. Powderpost beetles prefer wood that is moist and has not been treated with varnish or preservatives.
Pest damage by Carpet Beetles and Moths
Carpet beetles eat holes in carpets and upholstery, and moths eat holes in the cloth. They may also feed on leather.
They are common pests in office buildings. You may see the actual pests gathering around windows and lights, or you may just find the holes they have left behind.
Pest damage by Mice and Rats
The signs of a rodent infestation are often easy to identify. You may see them running around, hear them chewing inside your walls, find their droppings lying around, see a nest of soft materials, or find something they have chewed up in their quest for food.
Mice and rats often start to move inside as the weather gets colder out.
That being said, here are some powerful office pest control methods you can start using today:
1. Terminating Termites
Termites can be prevented with chemical barrier sprays, but if you already have an infestation, they can be exterminated using baits, liquid soil treatments, and wood treatments.
Chemical barriers and sprays can seep into the ground and contaminate well water, so caution must be used with those methods or a professional should be contracted to do the job. Baits can be used to reduce the effects on the environment and human health.
2. Bait Carpenter Ants
You may be tempted to just ignore a few ants you see around, but that is not a good way to keep your office building safe — and structurally sound.
Carpenter ants thrive in damp wood, so correcting any issues with moisture, such as roof or plumbing leaks, helps keep your building from attracting an infestation.
You should also seal any cracks or openings around the office’s foundation and remove any wood that might form a bridge to your workplace, like tree branches.
If you already have an infestation, one of the easiest ways to exterminate carpenter ants is by setting toxic bait. They carry this bait back to the nest and effectively kill the colony.
Be sure to buy ant bait that specifically targets carpenter ants. It may take several days for the bait to do its job.
If you have access to the nest, you can try dusting it with carpenter ant dust to kill the colony. Diatomaceous earth is natural, nontoxic dust that can be used for this purpose.
3. Powderpost Beetle Treatments
Like carpenter ants, powderpost beetles thrive in wet environments. To prevent them from moving into your office, make sure to ventilate any damp areas to remove excess moisture.
Once in your building, these beetles can be tricky to get rid of. For unfinished wood surfaces, you can use an insecticide like Bora-Care or Timbor to paint or spray the surfaces of the wood. It should absorb and kill the beetles and larvae.
If your infestation has moved into the walls and floors, you will need to take more drastic measures and call a professional to fumigate.
4. Cleaning Out Carpet Beetles and Moths
The best way to keep out carpet beetles and moths is to seal all the cracks or crevices in your office that could be used to infiltrate the space. If they get in anyway, these pests can be fairly simple to take care of.
The easiest method to get rid of carpet beetles, their larvae, and moths is by vacuuming, steam cleaning the same areas, and laundering clothing and linens. You could also apply a mixture of vinegar and water to surfaces like window sills, shelves, cupboards, and drawers.
If your infestation seems stubborn, sprinkle boric acid on your carpets, let it sit for two hours, then vacuum it up and dispose of the vacuum bag.
5. Mice and Rat Eradication
Mice and rats enter human homes and other buildings looking for easy, comfortable sources of food.
The main ways to prevent these pests from entering your building are to seal off any openings they could enter through and by removing food sources. Seal any cracks or holes on the outside of the building.
Make sure doors and windows fit properly, without any gaps. You should also seal food in airtight containers that keep rodents out and empty garbage regularly.
There are many effective ways to get rid of these rodents from glue traps, standard snap traps, to poison baits. You could even employ a cat that is an excellent hunter!
You will want to be careful about your method of eradication, though, if your office receives visits from small children or pets. Rat poison will effectively kill mice and rats, but it will also harm a child who accidentally came in contact with it.
Children and pets can also get glue traps stuck to them or become injured with standard snap traps. Consider opting for no-view, no-touch traps, or placing your baited snap traps in an area that can’t be accessed by pets and children.
Remember to always use caution when introducing chemicals to your office. Think about the health of coworkers who will be accessing the treated areas before you begin work.
If your office space is rented or leased, first contact the building owner about the issue at hand. They will likely want to hire a professional exterminator to eradicate the pests on a temporary or ongoing basis.
Don’t delay when you find pests are attacking your office or any space! The quicker you act, the less damage will be done, saving you money in the long run.
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