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Property Manager’s Guide to Getting Ready for the Fall

Just because summer is coming to an end doesn’t mean people won’t be using the outdoor amenities at your properties. They may get used even more in the cooler months (those slides can get pretty hot in the sun!). While the pool may not get frequented as much in the fall, grilling areas and playgrounds will still see lots of activity. Outdoor amenities in New England don’t just attract people and pets – they attract pests, too. Know which fall pests to look out for so you can be ready for them!

Stinging Insects

wasp in a yellow flower.

Bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and other stinging pests are at their peak population in the mid-to late summer. All that reproducing during the summer means increased activity in the early fall. Wasps are known to be more aggressive in the fall mostly because of dwindling food supply or changes in their colonies as they approach cold weather. Besides inflicting painful stings on unsuspecting residents, stings can be a serious health threat to those with allergies. Bring in a professional to seek out the nests and have them removed while you and your residents stay safely inside.


Flies may seem like just a nuisance, but these disease carriers are winged health threats. Frequently found in filth like dumpsters, excrement, roadkill etc., they track bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus and transfer it to wherever they land. Flies are persistent year-round, but spikes in fly activity may be linked to underlying sanitation issues around drains and dumpsters. Stay on top of emptying, cleaning, and rotating dumpsters and amp up sanitation plans to reduce the odors and build-up that flies find irresistible. Inspecting screens in all the apartments for tears or gaps and closing off cracks and crevices will help with flies, too. It can be a large job for one property manager if you manage a large building with many apartments. A commercial pest control company will make your life easier by taking care of all of that for you.

Rats & Mice

Rats eating garbage

Both rats and mice are more active in the fall because they are both trying to outrun winter. Frantically looking for a quiet, warm area away from foot traffic is their main objective at this point. The boiler room and club house that may be getting less use in the fall (and certainly in the winter) will be first on their list. The best way to get in front of rats and mice is to make the areas less attractive. Excess moisture is an attraction to rodents so dehumidifiers or vapor shields can help control that. Sealing cracks and crevices (they can squeeze through holes as small as a dime!) will also keep them out before they can find suitable locations to birth their babies. Therefore, pest-proofing is pretty important. Once they have babies, those mice only need four weeks before they are mature enough to breed. Do the math on that. Populations can grow very large very quickly. Having a pro monitor these areas on a routine basis can help you get in front of mice before that happens.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are an all-year-long pest for property managers. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs have nothing to do with being unsanitary but your residents should reduce clutter so there are less places for pests like bed bugs (and spiders, cockroaches, centipedes, etc.!) to hide. They should also alert you at the first sight of one or of a suspected bed bug bite so you can get ahead of them. While they may be difficult to deal with once you have them, there are proactive ways to catch them early. Keep in mind your residents may not know what to look for, so bringing in a pro is the way to go for bed bugs. When it comes to this pest – you want a four-legged pro. Canine bed bug sniffing dogs, if trained correctly, can be 95-98% accurate at sniffing out just one bed bug – even just one bed bug egg. Imagine that type of heads up when it comes to these pests? The money spent on inspections by a canine team will save you from the cost of dealing with a full-blown infestation.

Setting up for Fall Fun

Suburban playground in Autumn on a clear morning.

You may have inspected outdoor areas in preparation for the peak summer season, but it’s time to do it again. Who knows what has happened out there if you haven’t been keeping an eye on it. Overflowing trash cans, litter, spills, etc. could have attracted all sorts of pests.

  • Work with your maintenance team to make sure any fall decorations are free from pests and removed immediately after the season is over. Squirrels, rats, and flies love a rotting pumpkin. If they are attracted to one outside your building, their next stop may be inside.
  • Look for stinging insects swarming around nesting areas. Have a professional come to clear away any nests in the area and consider adding stinging pest control stations for added protection.
  • Check your dumpster rotation schedule and cleaning and maintenance plans to make sure you’re doing your part to minimize the odors and garbage that attract flies, cockroaches, and rats.

Pest pressures for multifamily buildings are a constant – no matter what season you’re in. All the key ingredients are in place for them to thrive: food, water, and shelter. If you’re charged with making sure pests don’t threaten your residents and your reputation, contact a professional to help. One that’s been around 135 years preferably.

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