Pest prevention is essential for any business or home. To ensure effective pest control, it is important to eliminate any food source, water or shelter, store items in secure, closed containers, dispose of trash regularly with the lid tightly closed, reduce clutter or areas where pests can hide, and seal and close any cracks or holes to prevent entry from the outside. A schedule of regular inspections is the cornerstone of an effective integrated pest management program. For food processors, weekly inspections are common, and some plants inspect even more frequently.
These routine inspections should focus on areas where pests are most likely to appear: reception docks, storage areas, break rooms for employees, sites where ingredients have recently been spilled, etc. As regular inspections reveal vulnerabilities in your pest control program, take steps to address them before they cause a real problem. Exclusion is one of the most effective preventive measures. By physically keeping pests away, you can reduce the need for chemical countermeasures.
Sanitation and cleaning will also eliminate potential sources of food and water, thus reducing pest pressure. Professional pest management always begins with the correct identification of the pest in question. Make sure that your pest control provider receives rigorous training in pest identification and behavior. Once you have correctly identified the pest, you should find out why the pest is in your facility. Are there food scraps or moisture buildup that could be drawing them in? What about smells? How do pests get inside, perhaps through floors or walls? Could incoming shipments be infested? The answers to these questions will lead to the best choice of control techniques.
The IPM emphasizes the use of non-chemical control methods, such as exclusion or capture, rather than chemical options. When other control methods have failed or are not suitable for the situation, chemicals can be used in less volatile formulations in specific areas to treat the specific pest. In other words, use the right treatments in the right places and only the amount you need to do the job. Often, the “right treatment” will consist of a combination of answers, from chemical treatments to baits and traps. However, if you focus on non-chemical options first, you can ensure that your pest control program effectively eliminates them with the lowest risk to your food safety program, non-target organisms, and the environment.
You'll also get higher scores on pest control at the time of the audit. Because pest control is an ongoing process, constantly monitoring your facility for pest activity and changes in facilities and operations can protect against infestation and help eliminate existing ones. Since your pest control professional will most likely visit your facility twice a week or weekly, your staff should be the daily eye and ears of the integrated pest management program. Employees should be aware of the sanitation issues affecting the program and should report any signs of pest activity. You don't want to waste a day when it comes to reacting to the real presence of a pest. When it comes time for an audit, updated pest control documentation is one of the first signs that your facility is serious about pest control.
Important documents include service scope, pest activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap design maps, approved pesticide lists, approved pesticide lists, pesticide use reports, and applicator licenses. Data loggers are essential to HACCP plans to keep auditors happy and customers healthy while doing profitable business. Natural controls often don't control pests quickly or enough to prevent unacceptable injury or damage; therefore suppression and prevention are often joint objectives when it comes to controlling pests. Biological control also includes methods by which the pest is biologically altered such as production and release of large numbers of sterile males and use of pheromones or juvenile hormones. Urban and industrial pests can be reduced by improving cleaning; eliminating pest shelter; using physical barriers such as screens; using chemical barriers such as insecticides; using biological controls such as predators; using cultural controls such as crop rotation; using mechanical controls such as traps; using genetic controls such as sterile males; using behavioral controls such as repellents; using thermal controls such as heat treatments; using electrical controls such as electric fences; using chemical controls such as insecticides; using biological controls such as predators; using cultural controls such as crop rotation; using mechanical controls such as traps; using genetic controls such as sterile males; using behavioral controls such as repellents; using thermal controls such as heat treatments; and using electrical controls such as electric fences. In conclusion, effective pest control requires a comprehensive approach that includes regular inspections and preventive measures like exclusion and sanitation. Professional training in pest identification is essential for successful implementation of an integrated pest management program.
Updated documentation is necessary for audits while data loggers are essential for HACCP plans. Finally, a combination of non-chemical options like exclusion or capture along with chemical options should be used for suppression and prevention.