Whether you manage a restaurant, food processing plant or grocery store, you need to be vigilant about protecting your business from pests and nuisance wildlife. Unfortunately, many people wait until a crisis occurs to deal with pest issues which can put your customers, your reputation and your bottom line at risk. A better idea is to be proactive about pest management and partner with a reputable pest control company to help you develop an integrated pest management (IPM) program. Although inspection, identification and treatment are the basis of IPM, pest prevention is a critical first step in any IPM program.
Senior Scientist and Technical Director Greg Baumann of the National Pest Management Association outlines these helpful preventative tips for both inside and outside your food facility in his article Food Safety: Resisting Invasion“:
Inside tips for pest prevention
- Keep storage areas, basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
- Dispose of garbage in a timely manner
- Look for rodent droppings in undisturbed areas, including closets, attics and along floorboards
- Make sure employees keep food sealed and stored properly
- Clean high-volume areas daily, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up
- Caulk and seal internal cracks, especially at floor/wall junctions
- Address product spills immediately and clean affected areas as soon as possible
- Products and materials should be stored away from windows and walls to reduce the risk of contamination.
Outside tips for pest prevention
- The exterior area of premises should be kept as clean and uncluttered as possible
- Dispose of garbage in clean, sealed containers
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the building, including entry points for utilities and pipes
- Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the building
- Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles as some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the building’s foundation and windows
- Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation; install gutters or diverts, which will channel water away from the building
- Consider replacing any mulch adjacent to the building with crush, as mulch can provide a burrowing area for rodents and other pests
- Be sure that exterior lights are not directed at doors or positioned above entryways as they can serve as a beacon for unwanted pests
- Be sure that employees do not prop doors open during a shift or a break to prevent unwanted pests and rodent from entering; make sure doors and open windows have tight fitting screens
- Fit any doors that must be open, such as dock doors, with air curtains or plastic strip curtains
An integrated pest management approach to pest prevention in food facilities requires cooperation, commitment and a true partnership between facility managers and pest professionals in order for it to be successful.
For more information about how to develop an integrated pest management program for your facility, call the professionals at Modern Pest Services at 1-800-323-7378.