A technician conducted a thorough inspection of the facility. Since he understood the behavior and biology of the fungus gnat, he took the time to look at the air intake on the plant’s roof. Sure enough, the filter was so full it was collapsing, allowing small flies to be sucked into the building.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueFebruary/March 2020
Adding to the misery, it was the dead of summer and there was extensive security lighting on the exterior of the building. These lights, which were located above the entrance and loading dock doors, shined brightly and attracted small flies to the building.
The Takeaway: Staying on top of basic maintenance practices is a critical element in any pest management program. If your maintenance crew has too much on their plate, consider outsourcing certain tasks; it’s worth the investment. Additionally, when conducting an inspection, make sure it covers all areas, from the roof to the basement. When it comes to building lighting, switch to low sodium vapor bulbs and determine which lights must be on for safety and security. Consider putting lights on poles in the parking lot and shining them on the building to draw pests away from the building while still meeting security needs.
Tale No. 3: A Fly in the Soup—Cheese Soup
A large manufacturer was experiencing a drain fly problem, something it had never faced before. After several weeks, the problem intensified and, during a follow-up inspection, the primary culprit was identified: a missing p-trap on a drain.
The drain was in an area on the production floor that was very difficult to access. There was large machinery in the way and the area was very warm and wet from the constant use of water in production. The missing p-trap was lying on the gravel under the slab and water was falling freely to the ground.
Repairing the drain was a challenge, as the floor in the older plant needed to be jacked up to safely allow workers to get underneath to perform the work. In the interim, a bioremediation treatment was performed to knock down the fly infestation. It took several weeks from initial identification until the pipe was fixed.
An interesting aside to this situation is that a few days following the inspection, the city’s wastewater department called and said gravel was showing up in their facility about a mile away from the plant. So much water was being put down the broken drain that it was washing gravel all the way to the wastewater building!
The Takeaway: Drains must be cleaned on a consistent basis and on a specific schedule. If that had been done in this case, the broken drain would have been noticed sooner and a solution would have been reached more quickly. The type of food you are producing should dictate the frequency for drain cleaning. For example, dairy and beverage facilities are at the highest risk as they use a lot of water in production. For that type of product, monthly drain cleanings are recommended.
Tale No. 4: Don’t Get Snake Bitten
An employee at a food processing plant kept pet snakes in his office (a non-production area). One day he put too many feeder mice into the snake’s aquarium enclosure and needed to remove some.
To safely remove the mice, one of the plant’s multi-catch rodent devices was placed into the enclosure. The trap caught several of the mice, but instead of keeping them for a future feeding he put the trap—with the mice in it—back where he found it inside the plant.
You can probably imagine the technician’s surprise when he opened the trap while performing the next scheduled service and found four dead white mice in the trap. The employee shared his mistake and the technician explained the importance of not keeping any pet animals in a food plant.