Keep an eye on your parking lot and sidewalks, too, and remove any remnants of trash or standing water that can attract pests to the area. Clean your dumpsters on a regular basis, and prevent trash and clutter buildup around them to deter rodents and insects from making their homes nearby.
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Explore This IssueFebruary/March 2013
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Survey the exterior of your building, looking for cracks and imperfections. Seal any cracks in your building’s windows, ceilings, floors, and exterior walls with weather-resistant sealant. Add copper mesh around pipes and drains before sealing to prevent rodents from gnawing through the seal. Use window screens and additional weather stripping as protective barriers to prevent smaller pests like ants from crawling inside.
Just like the exterior, you will want to search out and caulk any cracks and crevices around your wall and ceiling junctures, wall and floor junctures, and in corners inside your facility.
Break rooms, offices, or locker rooms used by employees can offer a safe haven for pests, providing food, water, and shelter. Inform your staff of your new IPM measures to make sure they are doing their part to keep these areas clean and sanitary.
Empty trash cans often, and clean up any spills immediately. Additionally, you’ll want to set up a routine sanitation schedule to clean liquid off of equipment and floors. You can remove greasy buildup with an organic cleaner that has a minimal impact on the environment.
Even the best sanitation efforts can be ineffective in machinery rooms where the equipment is positioned so that components in need of cleaning are hidden or inaccessible. For example, equipment is sometimes placed too close together or pushed against the walls. This type of positioning can lead to trapped food and microorganism growth that you may not even notice.
To optimize the sanitation and cleaning of your equipment and machinery, avoid squeezing equipment into tight areas. The best floor plans have machinery in wide open spaces, easily accessible from all sides.
Remember, the sanitation team needs easy access to areas above, beneath, and along the sides of equipment. If they can’t reach these spots, consider moving your equipment to a larger space.
When purchasing machinery, opt for self-draining equipment, which will help prevent the growth of hazardous bacteria. If your equipment is not self-draining, be sure to clean it thoroughly, inside and out, on a regular basis. Though the equipment may look clean from the outside, pests like cockroaches may be attracted to the product and liquids left inside. In addition, minimize any liquid accumulation to keep all areas within the facility dry and prevent damage to your products.
Loading docks are prime pest targets at food processing facilities, because they tend to be the most accessible entrances. Pests can find their way inside your facility through receiving doors and, at times, hitch a ride in on shipments.
If a pest problem inside your facility does require treatment, don’t apply chemicals immediately; there are several alternatives you can use to control pests without the worry of toxins.
Non-chemical strategies such as sticky boards can be used to monitor for and catch crawling pests in your facility. Fly lights of all shapes and sizes can be installed near entrances to food processing or other sensitive areas. In some cases, you can also use pests’ own biology against them. Pheromone traps incorporate a synthetically reproduced version of natural pest pheromones, which offer another way to monitor pests by luring them into a trap. Insect growth regulators employ man-made hormones to stunt insect growth and prevent reproduction and population growth without posing any threat or health hazards to people.