Published September 2022

The 2022-2023 school year is in full swing, with children returning to schools, after-care programs, and daycare facilities. Often, what is front of mind when managing one of these spaces is curriculum, scheduling, budgeting, etc. However, one aspect of running or managing one of these places that often goes overlooked is pest control and prevention.

Like within any commercial building, having a solid pest control plan in place is crucial for ensuring the safety of the individuals within the building as well as the structural soundness of the structure itself. Many pests carry diseases or bacteria, easily transmitted to humans via bites or stings or through food contamination. Some pests, like termites, are destructive to building foundations and wood fixtures. When infestations go unnoticed over time, they can significantly damage the structural integrity of the building and, ultimately, the safety of people inside.

Many of the preventative measures responsible homeowners take in and around their own property are transferable to a commercial building. Overall cleanliness and hygiene are of utmost importance, as is ensuring pests can easily make their way inside. Entirely preventing pests is nearly impossible, especially in Florida. However, using the following tips adds a strong layer of protection against the most common Florida pests infesting the space.

1. Prioritize General Cleanliness

It is no secret that kids of all ages can be messy, especially when it comes to food and beverages. For facilities storing food in kitchens, pantries, or classroom cabinets - ensuring that food is stored in clean and dry containers is key. These containers should be tightly sealed and cleaned regularly, as should shelves and refrigerators. Any spills or crumbs left behind by hungry students should also be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid attracting any unwanted pests.

The cleanliness of other areas also needs constant attention. This means daily cleaning of bathrooms, checking for any leaks, mold, or other potential health hazards or opportunities for pests to inhabit the space. All trash bins need to be emptied daily, with the bins themselves getting regularly cleaned as well. When it comes to storage of school supplies, toys, and books - that should always be done using sealable, plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes. While it may be tempting for teachers to keep old newspapers and magazines for projects, properly storing them in sealed containers prevents pests that love paper from setting up their homes in the publications. Most pests love clutter, so make the space as unappealing as possible by removing it the best you can.

2. Regularly Inspect all Doors and Windows

In addition to keeping facilities clean this school year, regularly inspecting doors and windows is a great pest-prevention measure. These fixtures, as they age, can develop cracks or faulty seals that provide pests an open door for making their way inside the building. Even some rodents can fit through cracks or the smallest of holes. Check regularly that all seals are intact and address any issues by filling cracks and resealing fixtures as needed. Test that all windows and doors close correctly as well.

3. Keep Outside Areas Surrounding the Facility Clear

Keeping the exterior of a facility clean and tidy is equally as important for pest prevention as doing the same inside. Along with mowing any grassy areas, make sure that all bushes, shrubs, and trees are trimmed regularly - disposing of any dead or rotting plant life. Clear weeds and any debris located near the exterior of the facility, and avoid storing any wood near the perimeter, as chopped wood often carries termites that can easily find their way to the building’s structure if stored too close.

Mosquitos are a huge nuisance in Florida. Like most pests, mosquitos love standing water. It provides the perfect environment for breeding. While some educational facilities have outdoor fixtures like wading pools or birdbaths, any unintentional areas of standing water should regularly be addressed. Also, leaders must keep the water in these fixtures regularly emptied and replaced.

4. Invest in Commercial Pest Control Services

While committing to the first three preventive measures is a great start - the best way to keep school and daycare facilities pest-free is by partnering with local pest control experts to develop and implement a pest prevention plan and keeping up with that plan each year. At Knockout Pest Control, we bring more than 30 years of experience in treating and preventing pests in both residential and commercial/industrial facilities.

We work with building owners across a variety of industries, carefully crafting customized pest prevention plans to keep these spaces free from pests. In Florida schools and daycares, student and staff safety is a top priority. So, we treat these buildings like we would any other commercial space or residential home. That starts with a thorough inspection, where trained technicians assess the area and identify any existing infestations or potential entry points, or vulnerabilities that may lead to an infestation in the future. We then work with school officials to create a customized protection plan to address any existing issues and best prevent any from occurring down the road. Generally, these plans include regular, seasonal visits to stay ahead of seasonal pests and ensure infestations are prevented or caught in the early stages of severity.

Pest control and prevention should be a top goal for all commercial building owners and operators - especially when talking about facilities that serve our area’s youth each day. If you’re interested in learning more about our commercial pest control services or scheduling an inspection and consultation, we encourage you to reach out today to ensure the 2022-2023 school year is safe and successful!