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No one likes pests in their storage unit because a) they're icky and b) they'll cause an infinite amount of damage to stored goods. This ultimately results in upset customers and bad reviews for your storage facility. To prevent angry one-star reviews written in ALL CAPS, storEDGE has researched the best ways to be both proactive and reactive when it comes to pest control for your business.

Rodents

Feral cats can creep out customers and give you rabies. Raccoons can cause a big, nasty mess of trash around your facility. However, the most destructive mammal to your particular niche is the mouse; mice will likely chew through tasty things like boxes, furniture and antiques.  It's best to keep furry woodland creatures of all kinds away from your facility's premises.

Prevention:

  • Keep trashcans away from your storage units. As an extra precautionary measure, change trash bags often, and ensure the can lids are always sealed.

  • In vacant or recently vacated units, make sure the floors are well-swept, and then use products like d-CON bait blocks and Contrac "Rodenticide" to prevent future incidents.

  • Be sure tenants know not to store food of any kind, including any crumbs on their stored furniture. Everything should be vacuumed and cleaned before being placed inside a storage unit.

  • Sell mice bait in your office store for customers to purchase.

  • Use mouse traps outside and around storage units.

Insects and Arachnids

Insects can be destructive as well, but mostly they're just plain gross. No one wants to bring their boxes back home after storing their belongings to realize they've just unintentionally allowed an army of cockroaches into their house. Even worse, poisonous brown recluses or black widow spiders can hide ever-so-sneakily and attack when you least expect it. No thanks! Follow these precautionary measures to make sure these disgusting little pests stay as far away as possible.

Prevention:

  • The most important action you can take against the smaller pests is to spray for insects and spiders routinely, as often as monthly and as few as two or three times a year, depending on your location. Be sure to concentrate spray around the doorframes of every unit.

  • Ensure your storage units are airtight and sealed—bugs can enter through incredibly small spaces.

  • Landscaping is great for curb appeal, but keep all plant material near your rental office, not your storage units.  

Additional resources on storage facility landscaping and upkeep: Can My Storage Facility Save Money with Third-Party Maintenance? and Top 7 Facts to Know About Storage Construction.

In particular, watch out for:

Bed bugs

Like vampires, these little guys feast on human blood at nighttime, except they're harder to kill (and they don't sparkle in the sunlight). They can survive extreme temperatures and don't need a steady diet of blood to persevere. Although garlic and a wooden stake won't help you with their demise, insecticides and vacuuming the affected belongings will.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches love the darkness, the heat and cardboard boxes. The environment created inside of storage units is their own personal El Dorado. To crush their dreams and ruin their paradise, spray insecticide or powder (like Roach Prufe) before a new customer moves in. If a new tenant happens to accidentally bring some roaches in with them, they could infest the surrounding areas (including your onsite manager's house, yuck!). After an infestation, boric acid works well and is mostly nontoxic to humans. If the problem persists, seek out roach-killing bait or hire a professional to spray the area.

Spiders

Spiders love cracks and crevices as well as cardboard boxes, so storage units can be a hotspot of spider activity. Proper sealing will help keep brown recluses and other spiders from ever entering the storage units in the first place. If you have other bug problems, the arachnids can be attracted to those as a food source; take action to rid your facility of insects, and you should see your spider population decrease. Using a spray is always a good plan. Spray around the door or any other potential openings to prevent them from moving into your tenants' storage units.  

Ants

Ants have their own set of problems. You have to destroy the nest—most importantly, the child-bearing queen—to destroy the worker ants who keep coming back to forage for food. Buy bait that the worker ants will bring back to their queen (such as Terro Liquid Ant Bait, or create your own 50/50 mixture of boric acid and sugar), and you'll take down the whole colony.

A little bit of education can go a long way when it comes to preventing pest infestations. Have you had big problems with other kinds of pests at your storage facility? Let us know in the comments section below!  

If you liked this article, you may also like: How to Raise Your Facility Value Before Selling, Should You Do a Rent Exchange at Your Storage Facility?, and How to Throw an Open House at Your Storage Facility.

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