Warm temperatures spur an uptick in pest activity, making the spring and summer months peak seasons for pest threats. The abundance of food, water, humidity, and places to hide in food processing facilities make them the ideal sanctuary for pest populations, which means it’s imperative that proper pest control be a top priority for food processing facility managers.
Threats to Pest Control
Understanding the pests that frequently invade food processing facilities and the threats they pose can help facility managers identify and address any issues that may arise before an infestation has a chance to take hold. Food processing facilities present the perfect conditions for various pests, including rodents, flies, cockroaches, and stored product pests, such as Indian meal moths and merchant grain beetles to thrive thanks to an abundance of food, shelter, and moisture. In the spring and summer, food processing facility structures are also susceptible to termites.
These pests can cause serious issues for food processors because they contaminate food with their droppings and are known to spread many diseases to humans, including E. coli and Salmonella. Rodents are also known for chewing through wiring, which can result in electrical fires and damage to essential machinery. While pantry pests do not transmit disease, they can still infest ingredients, resulting in the contamination of food products made in these facilities. The main threat posed by termites is their ability to cause extensive property damage. They cause $5 billion in property damage in the United States each year, which can be extremely costly to your business.
The most important step managers can take to ensure their facility is protected from pest threats is partnering with a licensed pest control company to perform regular inspections and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. IPM is a holistic and customized approach to pest control that comprises three steps: inspection, identification, and treatment to help ensure that commercial facilities are clean, compliant, and pest free. By enlisting the help of a professional, you can rest assured, knowing your facility is well protected from pests year-round, allowing you to instead focus your time on delivering quality products safely and efficiently.
In addition to recommending that mangers partner with a professional, the National Pest Management Association recommends that they add the following steps to their maintenance checklists to protect their facilities from pests:
- Ensure employee kitchens and eating areas are clean by wiping down countertops and sweeping floors to remove crumbs and residue from spills;
- Vacuum and clean all areas regularly, including offices, hallways, lobbies, and public bathrooms;
- Routinely check under sinks and machinery for areas of moisture, and repair any leaky pipes or clogged drains;
- Store all food products in sealed containers, and organize empty boxes to prevent harborage areas;
- Keep trash in sealed containers inside the building and remove from the facility regularly. Ensure dumpsters are far away from any building entry points;
- Inspect the exterior of the building to ensure there are no entry points; pay close attention to areas where pipes and utilities enter the building, and seal any gaps or cracks in the foundation;
- Install door sweeps on exterior doors to seal the gap between the floor and the door where pests can enter;
- Remove debris from gutters and direct water away from the building through properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks; and
- Ensure that grounds surrounding the facility are properly maintained, because overgrown vegetation can attract pests to the property.
The spring and summer seasons are exciting times of year that can quickly be ruined by a pest infestation. Help keep your employees and products safe this season and year-round by following these tips and working with a trained pest professional.