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PROMOTING EXCELLENCE IN NYC MULTI-FAMILY BUILDING OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE

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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
 
Pest Control in Multifamily Buildings
 

New York is a big city, and there is lots of garbage generated daily. And where high-quality food is available, there high concentrations of pests are found.

Building maintenance personnel must concern themselves with three scavenger pests in New York City: roaches, mice, and rats.

Three Conditions
For each of these to survive and prosper in your building, three conditions must be present:

1. Food
2. Water
3. Shelter

If any one of these are not present, they will have to go  elsewhere in search of it, and you will free yourselves and your tenants of these pests. Pests are found in direct proportion to the food, water and shelter available to them.

Conversely, if there is heavy garbage pileup inside or outside a building, if there are dirty dishes lying around in an apartment, if there is running or sitting water found, these are all conditions conducive to the growth and proliferation of pests. Take these away and you will send pests elsewhere in search of them.

Extermination and Sanitation
Extermination done on a regular basis is very important, but sanitation is equally important.

The work of the exterminator is of little value if supers and tenants, between exterminator visits, ignore the basic principles for rodent and vermin abatement.

Educate Tenants
Supers can help educate tenants: beyond the obvious things such as not leaving food out, help them to understand that it is unwise and unsanitary to leave dirty dishes around - they provide food for roaches and mice. It is also important to dry dishes immediately after washing them so as not to provide water to roaches.

For the same reason any pipe leaks should be repaired immediately, dripping faucets should be fixed, and tubs should not hold standing water for long periods.

If your building has a compactor chute, educate the tenants not to throw loose garbage down the chute; it should be put in a tightly sealed garbage bag before being tossed into the chute so that roaches and mice cannot get to sources of food before it is compacted and taken to the curb.

Common Areas Treatment
So as not to give pests opportunities to find food and water in common areas of your building, maintenance personnel should not hose down floors but rather us a vacuum or broom.

Materials stored in the basement should be at least six inches above the floor, and away from the walls, so that the areas can be cleaned and the exterminator can get to cracks and crevices.

Since rats are nocturnal animals, burrowing and living underground, supers should make sure that all openings to sewers and other pipes are kept closed to keep them out. Also, basement doors and windows should be kept closed; use well-maintained screens where feasible.

Cleaning should be done before the exterminator arrives, not after; cleaning directly after an exterminator has done his work will obviously take away much of the toxic residue that should stay in place in order to kill pests.

Rat and Mouse Droppings
There is danger of contracting the Hanta virus from rat and mouse droppings, which when dried can become airborne. The virus can be killed by using bleach to wash areas where droppings are found.

Workers can also wear a HEPA filter mask (it has a purple identifying band on it) when sweeping, and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter catches the fine dust and virus particles that can be harmful to humans.

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