Exterminate

Pest control is an element of facilities management that can save lives and the business bottom line. fmME looks into integrated pest management systems and gives you a check list to keep your facility safe.
Exterminate
The chemical option could contaminate your facility - very dangerous in the food sector.
By Administrator
Fri 12 Jun 2009 04:00 AM

Pest control is an element of facilities management that can save lives and the business bottom line. fmME looks into integrated pest management systems and gives you a check list to keep your facility safe.

The cornerstone of an effective integrated pest management (IPM) programme is a schedule of regular inspections. These inspections should focus on areas where pests are most likely to appear: receiving docks, storage areas, employee break rooms, sites of recent ingredient spills et al. Also, identify any potential entry points, food and water sources, or harborage zones that might encourage pest problems. The following steps give a framework to build an IPM programme around.

Preventative action

As regular inspections reveal vulnerabilities in your pest management programme, take steps to address them before they cause a real problem in your facility.

Once you have properly identified the pest, you need to understand why it’s in your facility. Is there food debris or moisture accumulation that may be attracting it? What about odours? How are the pests finding their way in - through walls or the floor?

One of the most effective prevention measures is exclusion, performing structural maintenance to close potential entry points revealed during inspection.

By physically keeping pests out, you can reduce the need for chemical countermeasures, which should be considered as the last course of action. Likewise, sanitation and housekeeping will eliminate potential food and water sources, reducing the attraction for pests. Identification

Different pests have different behaviours. By identifying the problematic species, pests can be eliminated more efficiently and with the least risk of harm to other organisms. Professional pest management always starts with the correct identification of the pest in question. Make sure your pest control provider undergoes rigorous training in pest identification and behaviour.

Analysis

Once you have properly identified the pest, you need to understand why it is in your facility. Is there food debris or moisture accumulation that may be attracting it? What about odours? How are the pests finding their way in - through the floors or walls? Could incoming shipments be infested? The answers to these questions will lead to the best choice of control techniques.

Treatment selection

Integrated pest management stresses the use of non-chemical control methods, such as exclusion or trapping, before moving to chemical options. When other control methods have failed or are inappropriate for the situation, chemicals may be used in their least volatile formulations in targeted areas.

Often, the right treatment will consist of a combination of responses, from chemical treatments to baiting to trapping. But by focusing on non-chemical options first, you can ensure that your pest management programme is effectively eliminating pests at the least risk to your food safety programme, non-target organisms and the environment.

Pest-prevention tips

• Examine the exterior for cracks or crevices

• Seal all unnecessary exterior openings - no matter how small - with weather resistant sealant or caulk. Many pests can fit through an opening as small as the width of a pencil

• Make sure all doors are tightly sealed to prevent pests from entering under closed doors. Remember to install or replace door sweeps if necessary

• Work with an HVAC professional to adjust the building’s airflow so that the air flows out when the door is opened, making it difficult for flying insects to enter the store

• Use sodium vapor lamps, instead of insect-attracting fluorescent lamps, in exterior light fixtures and fittings

• Using fluorescent lamps in car park lighting or other fixtures at least 100 feet from a building will pull flying insects away from the facility

• Examine the roof for signs of a bird infestation. Consider installing ledge treatments such as spikes to keep birds off the facility. Place netting or vinyl skirts around HVAC units to prevent birds from nesting underneath

• Always check incoming goods

You’ll also see higher pest control scores at audit time.

Monitoring

Since pest management is an ongoing process, constantly monitoring your facility for pest activity, implementing operational changes can protect against infestation and help eliminate existing ones.

The IPM programme recognises that pest management is a process, not a one-time event, and that relying on chemical controls, when so many other tools are available, is never the best solution - ever.

Indeed, as the pest management professional may visit the facility on a bi-weekly or weekly basis, your personnel on the ground need to be the daily eyes and ears of the IPM programme. Employees should be aware of sanitation issues that affect the programme, and should report any signs of pest activity to minimise costly downtime when reacting to an infestation of any sort.

Documentation

The food safety auditor’s visit can make or break your business. Since pest control can account for up to 20 percent of your total score, it’s imperative that your IPM programme is ready for scrutiny at audit time. Up-to-date pest control documentation is one of the first signs to an auditor that your facility takes pest control seriously.

Important documents include a scope of service, pest activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap layout maps, lists of approved pesticides, pesticide usage reports and applicator licenses.

To ensure that your IPM programme reaches its potential, approach your relationship with your pest management professional as a partnership. Open communication and cooperation between you, your staff and your provider is key. The benefits are fewer headaches, safer products and better audit scores.

Retail

For retailers, the summer heat often translates into unwanted insects and rodents on-site. Such pests impact the bottom line, and are not that easy to get rid of. Once an infestation has occurred, it can be difficult to eliminate. Prevention is by far the easiest and most cost effective way to control pest problems. Pests are attracted to stores and other commercial buildings because these facilities frequently offer food, moisture, shelter and optimal pest temperatures. By removing access to these elements, retailers can make their stores uninviting to insects as well as rodents.

Pests often enter stores through openings around windows and doors and around utility penetrations. Eliminating these unnecessary openings makes the building much less enticing and accessible. Food processing environments

A pest infestation can put a business’ reputation at risk because nobody wants a foreign body in a product. And pest management in such environments is also very sensitive.

Who you gonna call??

Viking Gulf TradingTel: 04 2685000

Eurogulf Pest ServicesTel: 04 2711433

NatpestTel: 04 3242342

Rida Pest ControlTel: 04 3437663 Johnson ControlsTel: 04 3477740

Baltic Control EmiratesTel: 04 3377263

V-Tech Instrumentation and ControlsTel: 00971 2 5551791 Universal PesticidesTel: 04 3518786

Special precautions must be taken to keep pest control treatments from threatening food safety. To better control pests while respecting a food plant’s sensitive environmental needs, apply the principles of IPM.

The IPM programme recognises that pest management is a process, not a one-time event, and that relying solely on chemical controls when so many other tools are available is never the best solution.

Research from the American Allergy Institute shows cockroach excrement and cast skins contain allergens that aggravate asthma - among a number of other health threats to humans.

By addressing the underlying causes of pest infestations the IPM programme can prevent infestation before harmful pesticides are even considered for the job.

Hospitals, cockroaches and pathogens

Maintaining a sterile environment for all patients, especially those with a compromised immune system, is extremely important, and pests like cockroaches pose a threat to that environment of care.

Cockroaches can carry bacteria on the outside of their bodies, and if they find their way inside your facility they can then transfer those pathogens to the surrounding environment. But an effective sanitation and facility maintenance programme can help keep these pests from endangering patients, staff, reputation and bottom line.

A number of health threats are associated with cockroaches including conjunctivitis, pneumonia, gastroenteritis, diarrhea and asthma. In fact, research from the American Allergy Institute shows that cockroach excrement and cast skins contain allergens that aggravate asthma. Because cockroaches walk through trash and filth, they pick up bacteria in less than sterile environments.

Cockroaches have existed for more than 350 million years because they’ve adapted to their environment. When other food sources don’t exist, they will eat almost anything including dust, glue and eyelashes to survive. As long as they have a water source they can survive without food for two months.

Roach documentation

If you spot a cockroach in your facility, it’s important to work with a pest management professional to quickly identify the source of the problem. A pair of German cockroaches can produce 400 offspring in six months, and if those offspring mate it can result in hundreds of thousands of cockroaches in a year.

Even one cockroach sighting can signal the possibility of a future infestation. If you see a cockroach, document where you saw it, at what time and any conditions that could contribute to why it is there, such as a leaking sink.

One pest-monitoring method is the use of small glue boards, which have a sticky, non-toxic surface. Place them strategically around the problem area to capture cockroaches and determine their traffic patterns.

As with all pest management, involve professionals, who can ensure that the devices are used correctly and safely and placed in areas away of patients, staff and visitors.

Pest library

Ants

Ant control can be difficult, but there are some things you should know about how ants’ behaviour can lead to big headaches for you and your facility:

Entry:Ants can enter through even the tiniest crack, seeking water and sweet or greasy food substances in kitchen pantry or storeroom areas

Scent trails:Ants leave an invisible chemical trail which contains pheromones for others to follow once they locate the food source

Nest locations:They can nest about anywhere in and around your facility in lawns, walls, stumps, and under foundations

Colony size:Can number up to 300,000 to 500,000 and whole colonies can uproot and relocate quickly when threatened

Colony lifetime:A colony can live a relatively long lifetime. Worker ants may live seven years and the queen may live as long as 15 years

Flies

More than 100 pathogens are associated with the house fly including: Salmonella, Staphylococcus, E. coli and Shigella. These pathogens can cause disease in humans and animals, including: typhoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysentery, hepatitis, ophthalmia, polio, tuberculosis and infantile diarrhoea. Sanitation is critical to controlling these pests, but accurate identification is essential for successful fly control.

Some other things you should know about flies and fly control:

• Depending on the species, the life expectancy of a fly is eight days to two months, or in some cases, up to a year

• Flies plague every part of the world except the polar ice caps

• One pair of flies can produce more than one million offspring in as little as six to eight weeks

• As many as 33 million micro organisms may flourish in a single fly’s gut, while a half-billion more swarm over its body and legs

• Flies spread diseases readily because they move quickly from rotting, disease-laden waste to exposed human food stuffs and utensils

• For every fly seen, there are an estimated 19 more hidden from view. This means humans don’t even see most of the flies present at an infestation

Cockroaches

Cockroaches can wreak havoc, and have been known to chew through wiring. To win the war of the roaches, here’s what you should know:

Entry:Cockroaches can enter your facility in many different ways. Through cracks and crevices, vents, sewer and drain pipes

Ideal environment:With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, they can remain active all year round

Reproduction:Cockroaches reproduce quickly. For every one you see there can be many, many more hiding and multiplying

Evasiveness:Because cockroaches are nocturnal, if you’ve seen one, you probably haven’t seen them all. The few cockroaches you see by day could mean they were likely forced out by overcrowding - a possible sign of severe infestation

Allergies/asthma:The dust created by cast-off cockroach skins, dead bodies and droppings can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals. Be sure to maintain high standards of sanitation to discourage these critters

Rodents

Rodents’ instincts make them difficult to control, and they present a serious menace to any facility. If you’re in need of rodent control services, here’s what you should know about these pests:

Rats

Instincts:Rats are instinctively wary of rat control measures such as traps and bait, and colonise in crawl spaces, burrows, under concrete, in wall voids and other hard to reach places

Disease:Rats can harbour and transmit a number of serious diseases. They can also introduce disease carrying parasites such as fleas, lice and ticks into a facility

Mice

Access:They invade a building seeking food, water and warmth. Without mouse control intervention, one pair of mice may produce 200 offspring in four months

Contamination:Each mouse can contaminate much more food than it eats

Bed bugs

Appearance:A hospitality industry nightmare, bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects about 3/16-inch long, or the size of an apple seed. Swollen and reddish after a blood meal

Habitat:Cracks and crevices including mattress seams, sheets, furniture, behind baseboards, electrical outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, travel on luggage and clothing. Particularly hard to get rid of. Not good for the bottom line.

Diet:Feed on blood

Reproduction:Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime

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