Ways to Avoid Pest Infestation in Your Green Roof

Green roofs are gaining popularity among businesses and homeowners because of the benefits they impart to the environment and solution they present to conventional roof problems. A common issue with green roofs, however, is pest infestation.

A viable pest control program can help eliminate most if not all pest problems affecting green roofs. Just follow these simple steps toward a pest-free vegetated roof:

1. Know the Common Types of Pest Visitors

A green roof attracts animals because they provide their three basic needs, which are food, water and shelter. Understand that there are different types of pests that could infest your roofs. The most common are mosquitoes (attracted to a stagnant pool of water), insects (spiders, ants, wasps and hornets), cockroaches (which may include beetles and earwigs), and termites (less common).

2. Assess Risks to Building Occupants

Pest infestation poses three distinct problems that must be acknowledged if you are to provide a solution. The first is the structural issues they present. Rats and mice could make their way down and inside the structure by gnawing on roof parts, wiring, irrigation system and other sensitive components. The second is the potential for pests to spread out. Your business operations could be severely impacted by the unexpected presence of pests. The third is the unavoidable outcome of pests scaring occupants.

3. Watch for Signs of Pests

You have to be proactive in dealing with pest infestation. Watch for normal signs of pest presence such as droppings, footprints, plant damage, burrowing and nests. People frequenting the roofs could also be a reliable source of information. You can adopt the inspection method that you already use for ground vegetation to your green roofs. Frequency of inspection depends on the size of the roof – a small area could be inspected once a month while a large roof should be examined every two weeks.

4. Integrated Pest Management

The best way to deal with pest infestation is through an integrated pest management (IPM). This system focuses more on prevention rather than reaction and employs low-impact measures to solve the problem. Instead of prioritizing the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, IPM tries to control pests by using anti-roosting devices, traps, sealing cracks and similar methods. It involves selecting the right types of plants for your area to minimize attraction of local pests, inspecting soil before they are used, maintaining the correct volume of mulch and awareness of overwatering that leads to water pooling.