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Schools, from elementary to college, are the perfect home for a number of pests. With large numbers of staff and students, storage rooms, cafeterias, lockers, and waste receptacles, schools offer an ideal environment for insects and rodents.
How Pests Affect Schools
Pests enter the building in search of food or shelter through an open door, gate, window, or a crack in the wall. In addition, staff and students may carry in insects on their person or property.
Regardless of how they enter the premises, pests affect a school in a number of different ways. Some cause structural damage to ceilings, duct systems, foundation, pipes, and walls. This results in the degradation of the building's safety and costly repairs. Many pests are also known to transmit diseases and spread bacteria, causing health problems and compliance issues. An infestation may even cause operational delays, forcing you to shut down the school until the problem is taken care of.
Common School Pests
While any type of pest could invade a school, there are some that are more common, such as:
- Bed bugs: These insects are difficult to locate and exterminate. Incredibly small, bed bugs sneak onto clothing as well as backpacks and personal belongings. Despite the name, you find them anywhere they have easy access to people (i.e. food) and they spread like wildfire.
- Cockroaches: Most people think of cockroaches as disgusting insects, and they aren't exactly wrong. Cockroaches are carriers of multiple bacterial and fungal diseases, with large groups causing upper respiratory illnesses and exacerbating asthma. They eat everything from decaying matter, to fabrics, to stored food and are attracted to moist areas.
- Flies: Perhaps one of the most annoying insects, flies are attracted to feces, food, and waste. They are often found hovering around trash cans or near food sources. Though many think of flies purely as a nuisance, they also transmit various bacteria, diseases, and viruses.
- Rodents: The most common rodents a school deals with are mice and rats. They feed on fruits, grains, insects, and seeds, which means just about any of the food stored in a school is up for grabs. Both mice and rats also have a habit of burrowing and gnawing into walls, causing structural damage and costly repairs. In addition, rodents carry bacteria and disease that can lead to fever, food poisoning, muscle aches, and salmonella.
How Much Do School Pest Control Services Cost?
Pest control costs vary according to the type of pest, extent of the infestation, size of the property, number of treatments required, and the company you hire.
The following details average costs to treat specific pest problems:
- General pest control includes treatment for ants, cockroaches, crickets, earwigs, and spiders. The average cost is between $150 and $500 for a first-time treatment.
- Carpenter ant control costs between $500 and $1,000, with fire ant control having costing between $100 and $300. These ant species are not usually included in general pest control treatments because they are more difficult to eradicate.
- Fly protection has an average cost between $20 and $35 per month. Industrial fly lights and timed mist systems have an additional cost between $55 and $295 each.
- Bed bugs have two separate costs: one for the inspection and one for the treatment. A standard inspection may be free, but typically costs between $150 and $200. Inspection by a trained dog costs between $300 and $600. The bed bug treatment itself has an average cost between $250 and $900, depending on the severity of the infestation.
- For rodent removal, the initial examination costs between $90 and $250. It includes determining the rodent type, the extension of the damage, identifying entry points, and setting traps (humane traps are available). From there, the company typically gives you a written note explaining the damage and a quote for cleanup and repairs, which can cost between $200 and $2,000 on average.
Preventing Pest Problems
It is much more effective to prevent pests than it is to exterminate them, particularly when you add in the cost to repair damaged property.
Start by maintaining specific areas where food is eaten and moving dumpsters and waste containers away from the school. This cuts down on insects and rodents entering the premises in search of food. Also be sure to complete necessary repairs, such as cracks in the walls or windows and leaking pipes, to seal up potential points of entry. Once this has been done, maintain your repairs.
Cleaning is perhaps the best preventative step, though, as a clean property is less likely to have a pest problem in the first place. Thoroughly clean any food preparation and serving areas, bathrooms, and classrooms to ensure every part of the school is more pest-resistant.