This High-Rise Building Has Roach-Infested Trash Rooms!
By Chris Williams on October 28, 2016.
I live in a 12-floor apartment building that has trash chutes on each floor and a compactor in the basement garbage room. The trash chute rooms are always a mess, not just because people leave their garbage on the floor, but management never monitors the chute rooms or cleans them up. As a result, we have a pretty bad cockroach problem in the trash chute. Do you have any guidelines for trash rooms that I can give to management? K. P., Hampton, NH
You bet I do. A trash chute in a building provides a highway for pests from the top of the building to the bottom, or vice versa. Not only does the chute provide cockroaches, rats, and mice with a sheltered travel route to each floor, but it also provides fast-food dining along the way. When trash chutes are not cleaned regularly, you can imagine the food and grease that accumulates.
Guidelines for Trash Rooms with Pest Problems
- Seal or fill all holes, cracks, and voids in walls, floors, and ceilings of trash chute rooms. Caulk or seal openings entering trash rooms around pipes, wires, cables, and vents.
- Keep clutter (boxes, garbage bags, large items) out of the trash rooms. Trash rooms should be inspected daily by maintenance.
- Paint trash rooms with a high-gloss white paint that will clearly show when and where cleaning is needed.
- The trash chute itself should be steam-cleaned or enzyme-cleaned and degreased regularly. An exterminator can apply insecticide dust to the chute as necessary.
- After the trash room has been cleaned and degreased, an exterminator should also treat cracks and crevices, wall/floor/ceiling junctions, the door threshold, and the perimeter of the trash chute door.
- Doors into trash rooms should be kept closed and should seal tightly with door sweeps and thresholds at the bottom.
- Enforce a rule that all food garbage and packaging deposited in trash chutes must be bagged and tied off.
Trash rooms and the trash chute are only part of the problem though. If a building has pests associated with its trash chute, you can imagine that the compactor room below is no better. Basement compactor rooms are often greasy and trash-strewn, and sometimes double as maintenance storage rooms, giving pests places to hide as well. A trash compactor can be the focus for cockroach, fly, or rodent problems, feeding pests throughout the building. Conversely, if trash areas are in good shape, pest levels in a building will reflect that.