Q: I’m considering bidding on a hotel that has a community garden right next door. What should I be concerned about?
—APPREHENSIVE IN OMAHA
A: There may be fewer concerns than you think. Of course, there are always visions of wild-eyed, torch-bearing gardeners calling for your hide because of some treatment you may have made, but it should never come to that. Community gardens vary in size from a single lot to half a block or more. Garden pests are unlikely to invade your account. The pests you might have in common are rats, or possibly birds. Here are three tips:
1. Start with a thorough inspection. Is the garden close to your building, or not so much? Upwind or downwind? If the building is farther away, downwind, well-sealed against pests and uncomplicated by fancy landscaping, you may need few, if any exterior treatments. If conditions are conducive to ants and other potential indoor pests, skip the power rigs, mist blowers or other sprayers and use baits or granules — or granular baits. Some accounts really need an exterior treatment at least once, but you can schedule this early, before they start planting. This also will help you avoid any pollinator protection issues, which, of course, you should be doing anyway.
2. If the exterior is an absolute jungle, consider recommending alterations to improve their chances for success. The hotel could use the occasion of altering its landscape as a PR promotion, showing its willingness to help the community garden and thus, the community. If you can help build the relationship between the garden and your account, you will win points on both sides.
3. If rats are an issue, go in with your eyes wide open. In the world of rat control, exclusion is king — and sanitation around the trash area is heir to the throne. You may not be able to eliminate rats outside. But if your account can make its building unfriendly and impenetrable, and keep the rat cupboard bare, it will have far fewer rat issues, even when the garden is full of fresh vegetables.
The best way to eliminate issues is to meet with the coordinators of the community garden. There’s no substitute for open communication. Once they know you and your account care about their project, things should go well.
Email your questions about insect identification and pest management technologies to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions most likely will be printed and answered in one of Pest Management Professional’s upcoming columns.
You can reach Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, vice president of technical services, Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., at email@example.com.