Nobody likes the idea of dealing with pests, whether you’re tolerating them in your own home or are dealing with an outbreak in one of your rental properties. Some bugs are totally unavoidable; it’s almost impossible to have a house that’s completely free of flies and other insects. But what steps can you take to minimize potential pest problems and eliminate problems once they arise?
Types of Pests
In Texas, some of the most common pests you’ll deal with will include:
- Termites. Contrary to popular belief, termites don’t actually eat wood, but they do have the potential to destroy it. Termites are annoying, invasive, and at scale, completely destructive, so it’s important to eradicate these invaders as soon as possible.
- Rodents. Rodents like rats and mice are common problems everywhere. If these mammals work their way into your rental property, it could cause a major health concern for your tenants – and creep them out in the meantime.
- Cockroaches. Cockroaches come in many varieties, but nearly all of them behave in similar ways. Most of the time, cockroaches are drawn to areas with available food and water, so it’s relatively easy to prevent them.
- Ants. A stray ant or two probably won’t pose much of a problem, since most ants aren’t particularly destructive, nor are they major disease vectors. But if a couple of scouts recognize that an area is rich in food or resources, they could bring an entire colony to your rental property.
- Spiders. Spiders are a strange fit on this list, since oftentimes, they function as a pest control service in their own right. Left alone, spiders will create webs that trap other small bugs for consumption, helping you control other pest threats. However, spiders are unsightly and unsettling to many tenants, and an excessive number of spiders can still pose a problem.
Proactive Pest Management
The best way to handle pests in a Texas rental property is to practice proactive pest management. In other words, you want to practice good habits so that you avoid pests, rather than merely reacting to pests that already exist. This methodology is much more reliable, much less time consuming, and much less expensive.
These are some of the best strategies to employ:
- Sealing holes and cracks. Before you accept a new tenant, conduct a thorough inspection of the inside and outside of your property. Be on the lookout for any holes and cracks that you find and try to seal them with caulk or another sealing agent. Pests don’t spontaneously emerge inside your house; they usually work their way in from outdoors. If there are no accessible routes into the house, you’re not going to have any new pests. That said, it’s tough to track down every little crack and crevice in the exterior of your property. Just do your best to minimize the potential entry routes.
- Practicing good hygiene. Pests don’t typically show up with the intention of bothering your tenants; instead, they’re commonly looking for food, water, and shelter. If there is no food and no water available, they’re going to leave as quickly as they arrive. This is why it’s important for your tenants to practice good hygiene, storing their food properly and wiping down surfaces on a regular basis. If food is left out, or if there are constantly available sources of crumbs, food particles, and pools of water, pests are going to become more common. It’s important to set expectations with your tenants to ensure they practice proactive cleanliness in this regard.
- Spraying and treating. If your rental property is especially prone to pests, you can take extra precautionary steps. These include spraying and treating the area to repel certain pests. For example, you can spray around the exterior of your building to deter ants from coming in.
Reactive Pest Management
Despite your best proactive efforts, you may still run into occasional situations where your tenants are dealing with active pests. How should you handle this situation?
- Secure evidence to gauge the threat. For starters, try to collect evidence to gauge the threat. Ask your tenant to send photos or videos of what they’ve been seeing. If the tenant has only seen a single bug a single time, you may not need to do anything. If there are signs of a massive infestation, you’ll need to treat this as an emergency situation. In any case, the more information you have, the more appropriately you’ll be able to respond.
- Respond quickly. Always try to respond to a pest situation as quickly as possible. Rodents, ants, and most other insects reproduce quickly, meaning a small, early infestation can quickly spiral out of control. The sooner you address this problem, the sooner it will go away and the easier it will be to handle. Additionally, responding quickly will bring peace of mind to your tenants, assuring them that you’re taking this matter seriously.
- Hire a pro. It’s possible to handle some pest issues entirely on your own, but if you want to make things easier, consider hiring a professional exterminator. You can also work with a property management company, which can handle issues like this entirely on your behalf.
- Use multiple treatment methods. If you want to fully eradicate the issue, consider using multiple treatment methods. A combination of deep cleaning, setting traps, and spraying repellents will typically get rid of the problem in short order.
- Follow up. Certain pests are notorious for coming in waves. Don’t assume that the problem is completely taken care of just because you haven’t seen any signs of pests in a few days. Keep following up until you’re confident that no more pests are going to arrive.
Managing pests at your rental property can be a pain, especially if your rental property is old or in poor condition. But pest control, along with all other responsibilities associated with your rental property, is much easier with the help of a property management company.
If you’re interested in working with a property manager in Texas, contact us for more information today!