Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Kurt Treftz of Cascade Pest Control
It is important to look out for signs of pest damage when inspecting a rental home or apartment. Pest infestations—whether rodents or insects—can happen regardless of how tenants behave, but other times a tenant’s behavior is what’s causing the pest infestation.
Know what to look for: Abate nuisance pests & rodents that threaten your property
Rodents can, unfortunately, simply gnaw their way in to gain access to a home’s interior. This is made easier when structural idiosyncrasies, like gaps in roofing fixtures or unsealed vents, allow rats and mice to simply squeeze in and invade from a crawlspace or attic. That being said, poor household hygiene can just as easily invite and attract the vermin. For example, leftover pet food is a major attractant for rats and mice. If the tenant has any pets, they should either be fed indoors or only provided enough to eat completely at one feeding if fed outdoors. Also, if the renter has a barbecue it must be kept clean. Make sure the BBQ grease pan is being kept clean, as rats can live off the drippings.
Also check outside. Garbage cans or dumpster areas can provide food for rats and breed flies. No garbage should be left spilled, nothing overfilled or overflowing the bags or containers, and lids should fit on tightly. Inspect along the outside of the foundation for crawlspace vents and ensure they are all screened with no breaks. Access into a crawlspace allows rats to set up nests and destroy insulation in the process. We can’t expect garage doors to always be closed, so rats or mice can often enter through here. Check around for droppings in the corners of any garage to make sure this isn’t the case for your space.
Tenant’s cleanliness can also significantly impact whether insect pests are present. Cockroaches are usually found in multi-family units in Tacoma, Seattle, Everett and other larger cities. Renter cleanliness will largely determine which units have the heaviest infestations. Maintaining a clean kitchen is also crucial to reducing, controlling, or avoiding cockroaches. It only takes crumbs or the food film for cockroaches to multiply.
Ant problems are prevalent throughout Seattle, Bellevue and other areas of the Puget Sound region. The most significant and persistent ant is the tiny and black Odorous House Ant. Though you may not notice their smell, lines of them in the kitchen or bathroom is commonplace. Odorous House Ants may occur regardless of a renter’s sanitation habits, but unkempt kitchens will allow them to get completely out of control.
Do your best to look for trails of ants, and for bugs behind items in the kitchen. There are many different pest issues we face in the Pacific Northwest, but, when it comes to property management, being watchful of a tenant’s hygiene is important to avoiding most of them.
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