Vegetated roofs are often touted as a way to encourage biodiversity, but that isn’t limited to the plant selection. Whether your roof has low grass, flowers, shrubs, or food gardens, insects and animals will inevitably be attracted to the foliage.
1) Understand Which Pests Frequent Vegetated Roofs: Animals need three things to survive – food, water, and shelter – so it’s no surprise that a manicured green roof can provide these in abundance.
“Green roofs are living architecture,” explains Pat Copps, a board certified entomologist and technical services manager for Orkin. “As soon as you start putting plants up there, pests will start moving in.”
Pests run the gamut from those that are attracted to ornamental plants to ones that thrive in urban areas:
- Insects such as ants (fire or carpenter), spiders, hornets and wasps, and silverfish are typically the biggest group of unwanted guests.
- Birds, mice and rats, and even nocturnal creatures such as raccoons and possums may become an issue.
- Mosquitoes can create a problem, particularly if there is ponding water for them to lay eggs in.
- “Large cockroach species often thrive in heavily mulched areas,” notes Judy Black, a board certified entomologist for the pest management firm Steritech. “Occasional invaders such as earwigs may also be brought in on potting soil, and ground beetles may be initially attracted to lights at night and then take up residence in soil and mulch.”
- Termites are less common but not unheard of, adds Paul Curtis, a board certified entomologist and entomology and regulatory services with Terminix Commercial.
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