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Food Safety Advice for Businesses: Getting Rid of Pests

Being in the food processing or serving industry puts you in an interesting predicament. 

On one hand, you absolutely cannot allow pests into your work environment. Consumers finding bugs and animal parts in their food isn’t exactly good for business. 

On the other hand, safety is paramount. Most pest management systems involve some form of chemicals or poisons to control pests. Any of that getting into consumer products could lead to potential health risks and lawsuits.

Where do you draw the line? How do you control pests in your sensitive environment without putting consumers at risk?

Follow along as we answer all of your questions.

How to Prevent Pests

The first step to controlling pests is preventing them, which is easier said than done. Start with these basic tips before moving on to pest management systems.

Frequent Inspections

Awareness is key for any and all pest management systems. The best way to handle a pest problem is to get out in front of it. 

Performing frequent inspections of pest hot spots will help you stay involved in any potential pest infestations.

Pest hot spots include in and under cabinets, under refrigerators, behind walls, under furniture, an in dark, rarely visited spaces such as attics and basements. 

Quality Cleaning Habits

Making sure you and your employees are exercising quality cleaning habits is a huge step in pest management. 

Leaving garbage and messes for pests to hide under invites them to stay. Additionally, improper food storage and food scraps left out is a beacon most pests can’t help but follow.

Make sure all exterior doors and windows are closed and sealed.

Finally, reduce potential hiding places and access to water, as bugs can live an extraordinarily long time off of water alone.

Professional Advice

Finally, asking the professionals for their opinion is a necessity if you find the beginnings of an infestation. They can tell you how big your problem is and set you in the right direction for pest management systems.

Signs of Pest Infestation

Depending on the type of pest you’re dealing with, there will be a variety of signs indicating an infestation. Make sure you and all employees are aware of these signs to maximize vigilance.

Rodents

Rodents are good at three things – chewing, defecating, and reproducing.

Your first signs of rodents will be seeing chew marks on walls and boxes. Alternatively, you may stumble across a popular bathroom location for them and find their feces. You may also smell their urine before anything else.

Be warned, female mice can produce as many as 14 young up to 10 times a year.

Insects 

Insects will generally be seen if you have an infestation. You may see active bugs running around or dead bugs on the floor. Either way, it means you’ve got a problem.

Alternatively, you may see holes in the wall or signs of termite damage.

Birds

Birds are another common pest for food facilities. Often, you will see or hear birds fluttering around in the rafters.

Additionally, if you have a bird problem, expect to find a significant amount of droppings.

What to Do if You Have Pests

If you suspect you have pests, the first thing you need to do is call the professional pest control. They will be able to come down, assess the gravity of the situation, recommend your best course of action, and carry it out.

It’s imperative, however, that you act fast, as most pest problem worsen exponentially as time goes on.

It’s a good idea to shut down the shop while pest management systems are underway to avoid any accidental food contamination or disruptions.

Once the eradication process is complete, the cleaning needs to begin. All dead pests need to be cleared from the location and cleaning professionals need to be hired. 

Once all appropriate measures are completed to safely continue doing business, you can open up shop. 

Pest Management Systems

Different types of pests require different types of pest management systems. While some of them work well across the board, some pests are resilient to others. Here are the three most common pest control methods.

Poison Bait

Poison bate is an especially popular method for dealing with rodents, birds, and cockroaches. 

This is usually done with bait stations set up around the building. They require being topped off regularly and can take days or weeks, depending on the location of the bate traps and the severity of the infestation.

Fumigation

One of the most effective pest management systems, fumigation kills pests in every stage of life, including larvae and eggs within insect and bug species.

During fumigation, an air-tight tent is set up around the entire exterior of the building. Then, a liquid insecticide is released, fogging the building. 

Fumigation generally lasts for two to three days, during which time, the building is completely shut down to human traffic. 

Traps

Traps are another one of the most commonly used pest management systems, although, they are generally used for rodents.

Traps come in all different selections based on the way you want your pests trapped. Some traps are lethal and some are non-lethal.

There are electric mouse and rat traps that use bait to get the rodent in the trap where they trigger a sensor. Once the sensor is tripped, a powerful electric current kills the rodent. 

Mouse traps also come in snap-trap, sticky-trap, and enclosure-trap designs.

Snap traps are the traditional mouse trap where the mouse steps on a trigger which releases a tension help spring. This releases a lever that snaps down on the mouse’s neck, usually causing immediate death.

A stick trap is a non-lethal solution, although it might as well be lethal. The rodent steps on a sticky pad and is unable to break free. From there, they will either die from starvation or be found and killed by the building owner.

Finally, non-lethal enclosure traps allow rodents to come in, but not leave. From there, they may be released into the wild or exterminated otherwise.

Act Fast

No matter which of the types of pest management systems you choose, do so quickly!

We always recommend hiring the professionals to make sure you’re getting a thorough job of eradicating pests. Your business is too important to leave things up to chance. 

If you see any signs of pests, act now!