Proactive pest management can help prevent the many scenarios of pests infiltrating your food processing facility: contaminated equipment, costly wasted product and unexpected downtime. But taking a proactive stand against pests isn’t just good business—it’s a prerequisite of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
You’re likely familiar with Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a toolbox of tactics that can help mitigate pest threats. But did you know there is a proven formula for IPM that can help you better visualize the process and achieve more predictable, positive results? That formula is the IPM Pyramid, a tool for better visualizing how an IPM approach can build on and interact with one another for a sustainable pest management program.
The solid foundation for every IPM protocol, identification means knowing your pest enemies, but more importantly, identifying their biological vulnerabilities. There’s often a chink in their armor that’s easy to exploit, such as a specific environmental requirement or key behavior.
More than mere cleanliness, this step includes depriving pests of all the food and environmental factors they need to successfully thrive. To prevent small flies, for example, this means cleaning drains at least every seven days, eliminating their chance to breed.
This step is about keeping eyes peeled everywhere, not just around your facility and product, but at potential supply chain entry points, such as shipments.
Analyzing the pest activity data you collect can reveal developing trends or hotspots that would benefit from early intervention. You can use this to trace sources of problems, such as an old batch of product, excess moisture or a door in need of repair.
From caulking cracks to repairing damaged door sweeps, this step helps you create and maintain a physical environment that prevents pest entry and deprives them of their biological needs.
If you follow the steps of the pyramid in order, you could possibly avoid this step entirely. But when pesticide is required, the data you have collected can help you focus on prevention rather than reaction to a problem.
Like any IPM program, the IPM Pyramid relies on partnership and communication to achieve peak success. For the best results, you need your facility management and employees deeply engaged, as well as the knowledge and experience of a pest control professional. IFC is a national provider of pest management and sanitation solutions exclusively to the food industry. You can learn more about implementing the IPM Pyramid by following our free guide.