Roaches, bedbugs, and other pests can quickly ruin the entire guest experience and lead to bad reviews. Regardless of how beautiful your vacation rental is and the efforts you’ve made to create an amazing and memorable experience for your guests, seeing an insect or a rat can be off-putting and even hazardous in some cases. That’s why it’s so important for you as the owner or property manager to keep up with regular pest control for your vacation rental property. We’ve covered the best ways to deal with the most common vacation rental pests below.
How to Handle the Most Common Vacation Rental Property Pests
Cockroaches, bed bugs, bees, wasps, mosquitoes, fleas, ants, mice, and rats are the most common vacation rental property pests. Learn more about each one and how to handle them below.
Cockroaches tend to be one of the most difficult infestations to get rid of. If you discover them, you’ll definitely want to contact a professional pest control company to exterminate them. But there are plenty of ways to prevent roaches from ever becoming a problem.
First, keep your vacation rental property clean and tidy at all times. Keep all food contained and dispose of open food in between guest stays. Sweep and vacuum all floors, being sure to get the areas under furniture. You’ll also want to move furniture around on a regular basis; cockroaches often form nests behind beds and sofas that are never moved.
Unfortunately, even if you keep your vacation rental property as clean as possible, you can still end up with a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs aren’t a sign of dirtiness, as they only feed on blood. The main cause of bed bugs is travel; they typically hitch a ride on people, luggage, clothing, and other personal items, often going unnoticed until they breed and leave numerous bites.
Bed bugs are also hard to exterminate, and some hosting sites will even temporarily ban your property until you’ve handled the infestation. If you discover that you have bed bugs, don’t allow any guests to stay on the property until you’ve resolved the issue. Contact a professional exterminator to ensure the extermination of all bedbugs.
Bees and Wasps
Bees and wasps can be a hazard on your property; not only are their stings painful, but some people have allergic reactions to them. While bees aren’t aggressive by nature, it’s still best not to have a beehive on your property. If you find one, contact a local beekeeper to have it moved to a safer location. Bees are an endangered species, so try to avoid killing them if they aren’t causing a major problem. However, suppose there’s a wasp’s nest on your property and you encounter yellow jackets or hornets. In that case, they’re more likely to be aggressive and harmful to your guests, so be sure to contact a professional exterminator. Attempting to kill all of the wasps on your own is likely to end in you getting stung.
Mosquitoes and Fleas
Mosquitoes and fleas are more annoying than anything else, but they can also carry disease, so you definitely want to keep them at bay as much as possible. Landscaping and yard maintenance can help keep them under control. Prevent water accumulation, remove any waste, clean the pool regularly, and seal the drainage outlets properly. These measures will keep mosquitoes and fleas from breeding in garbage or standing water. Citronella candles, while nice to set the mood, aren’t particularly effective in repelling mosquitoes. But a good way to keep mosquitoes under control is to provide a box fan or oscillating fan for guests to use while outdoors. Fans have been proven to reduce mosquito landings by as much as 65%.
If you discover ants in your vacation rental property, it’s important to figure out what type of ants they are, since different types have different diets. Once you’ve discovered what that particular type of ant eats, identify its food source and eliminate it. Ant traps are also a simple and cheap way to kill off an infestation. In more severe cases, you might need a professional exterminator to stop by and handle the problem.
Mice and Rats
For mice and rats, regular mice/rat control services are the best way to go. Although you may feel comfortable setting up traps in your own home, it’s not wise to put them in your vacation rental property. This is especially true if you run a family-friendly or pet-friendly vacation rental, since small children and pets may inadvertently become injured by mouse traps.
General Pest Control Tips for Your Vacation Rental Property
These general tips will help to keep your vacation rental property pest-free year-round!
Prevention is easier than extermination
Prevention is always the best way to go when talking about pest control. Don’t put it off, or you’re sure to end up paying more later on. Be sure to keep up with pest control during the fall, when pests are most likely to move into your vacation rental in order to avoid the dropping temperatures outdoors.
Seal the home tightly
Sealing your home tightly will not only keep pests out, but it can also cut back on your energy costs by reducing the amount of heat or air conditioning needed to keep your rental property comfortable. Seal all holes and cracks–mice can fit through an opening that’s just the size of a dime! Check your dryer and stove vent ducts, chimneys, and crawl spaces to ensure they’re screened or capped.
Where exterior doors meet the ground, check for light and see if you can feel air coming through–if you can, then pests can sneak in there. Gaps around pipes are also an area to pay close attention to. Make sure your doors and windows are screened, and check that the garage door seals flush to the ground. Trash cans must be sealed well, too.
Keep up a consistent cleaning schedule
Always be vigilant about cleaning, and remember that the vacation rentals that are most vulnerable to pests are the ones that are left vacant for weeks or months at a time. Even if you don’t have guests for a while, it’s smart to have your cleaning crew stop by regularly (or stop by to clean yourself).
Consider outdoor misting systems
Mosquito misters can be an effective way of keeping these pesky insects under control. Outdoor mosquito misting systems spray pesticides on a regular basis to exterminate any mosquitoes in the nearby area.
Keep woodpiles at a distance
Pests often gather where there is rotting wood, so be sure to avoid leaning your woodpile against the side of the vacation rental. Any collections of branches and firewood should be kept far from the house–at least 30 feet is best.
Encourage guests to keep screenless windows and doors closed
If there are any doors or windows that don’t have screens at your vacation rental property, it’s wise to encourage your guests to keep them closed. Many pests enter homes through open windows and doors.
Hire a reliable pest control company
It’s crucial to hire a pest control company you can trust. A good pest control company will start off with a thorough inspection of your vacation rental and the outside area surrounding it. They’ll then identify any vulnerable areas or existing conditions that can attract pests before developing a pest control plan that suits your needs. After that, the pest control company can seal off entry points and keep up ongoing visits throughout the year to ensure your vacation rental property remains pest-free.
- The most common vacation rental property pests include cockroaches, bed bugs, bees, wasps, mosquitoes and fleas, ants, mice, and rats.
- Keep roaches away by being vigilant with cleaning, especially behind furniture, and keeping food contained.
- In the case of a bed bug infestation, do not allow guests to stay at your vacation rental until an exterminator has taken care of the situation.
- If you discover a beehive, contact a local beekeeper to relocate it. But if you discover a wasp’s nest, contact an exterminator.
- Mosquitoes and fleas are best kept under control with good lawn maintenance.
- If you have an ant infestation, identify and eliminate their food source and put out ant traps.
- Mice and rats are best prevented from entering your vacation rental by regular mice/rat control services.
- Prevention is easier than extermination when it comes to pest control.
- Seal the home tightly to prevent bugs and small animals from entering the property.
- Keep up a consistent cleaning schedule, even when the vacation rental is left vacant for multiple weeks.
- Consider outdoor misting systems to keep mosquitoes under control.
- Keep woodpiles at a distance of at least 30 feet from the house, since many different pests are attracted to rotting wood.
- Encourage guests to keep screenless windows and doors closed because pests frequently enter homes through open windows and doors.
- Hire a reliable pest control company and have them spray the house regularly to prevent infestations.