By: Madison Grimm

Exclusion is not a new concept within pest management. However, as the industry keeps evolving in favor of reduced-risk pesticides and non-chemical pest control strategies, the practice of exclusion continues to gain traction.

At Copesan, we strive to be an industry leader in understanding and embracing the principles of integrated pest management, and as a result, we continue to adapt our strategies to provide the best service. Keep reading to learn about what exclusion is and why it should be an integral part of your pest management program.

Exclusion is Nothing New

Exclusion is pest management and, as a concept, it’s nearly unimpeachable. If pests can’t invade from outside the structure, or from a connecting unit, the only battle remaining is with those persisting indoors, or brought in with people or their goods. This downsizes the fight against pests and allows us to focus our efforts. Because these effective strategies are long-lasting and environmentally friendly, it has gained traction in a world moving away from reliance on pesticides.

Implementing practices to exclude pests is crucial to the success of any pest management program. Given the small gaps needed by rats (1/2”), mice (1/4”) and insects (<1/8”) to gain entry to structures, nearly every building is at risk, and could benefit from exclusion practices.

The Benefits of Exclusion Practices

Pest pressures are reduced. When implemented correctly, exclusion reduces pest problems indoors, which fulfills our main goal. It deters pests from your building or facility, and cuts them off from what is attracting them – food, shelter and water.

Less pesticides are used. Exclusion is a proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive one. Instead of having to treat as a reaction to an infestation, the goal of exclusion is to keep pests out to begin with.

Lasting solutions. When done properly, exclusion work can effectively keep pests out for years. Consider exclusion an investment where the returns are reduced pest risk and lower costs long-term.

Partnerships are built. Lastly, putting exclusion into practice builds the partnership between the pest management professional and the client. It requires the collaboration of the technical knowledge from the PMP and the preventive actions taken by the client. So, you may be asking, what, as the client, can you do to help exclusion practices see success?

How can I practice exclusion?

  • Emphasize the importance of keeping doors closed to your employees. Install metal shields on the bottom of doors to close the entry down to less than ¼” (6mm). Vinyl or rubber seals can also be used, but they may not provide the same level of abrasion resistance and wide temperature range flexibility.
  • Remove access and harborage areas near your building to decrease the chance for pests to move in. Small cracks and crevices allow insects and rodents to enter and live in structures. For masonry walls or around utility pipes or lines, fill in holes with sheet metal, wire gauze, wire mesh and concrete. For entry holes or wood, fill in holes with 26-gauge sheet steel or ¼” hardware cloth or wire mesh. Elastomeric sealants can be used to fill gaps and holes in some cases.
  • Be mindful of the foliage surrounding your building. Reduce ground cover by trimming or removing low-growing bushes. Cut down vines that are attached to the building. Cut back trees from building, so they do not touch or hang over (about 6 ft from the building). Consider removing fruit and seed producing trees and bushes, since they provide food for commensal rodents, wildlife and insects.

If you have more questions about exclusion, or are interested in learning about how it can benefit your facility’s fight against pests, reach out to your Copesan representative or contact us here!