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The world as we know it has been turned on its head since the onset of the Coronavirus disease (COVID 19). The disease has forced many businesses to close and has made most businesses change the way they operate in terms of their operations for their customers and staff.

The Food industry and any many service-related facilities have not been spared during this crisis and have been effected, however, service delivery still needs to take place, be it at not full production and full staff in certain cases, food demand will always be there, but with less foot movement in terms of customers/ staff allows pests more freedom to move, breed and cross infest more areas within buildings creating more challenges for businesses to deal with over and above the measures needed to curb the spread of the virus.

As it is according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the COVID 19 strain of the coronavirus is transmitted through vermin, pests or food. The main threat pests cause is the transmission of a host of dangerous diseases for humans due to the very high risk of food contamination caused by vermin such as rodents and cockroaches.

Rodents are on record to consume and contaminate over 20% of the world’s food supply and can spread pathogens and diseases such as Hantavirus and salmonella to name a few, which can be fatal to humans.

While we are all in the grips of the restrictions pertaining to the pandemic, business owners or facility managers should take preventative and proactive measures in terms of their pest control regime and make it a high priority and top of their health and safety protocols.

Here are a few steps to put into motion:

Regular Inspections

If you know what to look for and how to look out for it is a good starting point and can potentially prevent a problem before it gets out of hand. Check your facility’s high-risk areas such as kitchens, toilets, waste areas etc. Check within kitchen cupboards for signs of cockroach droppings, egg capsules or activity.

Check your premises for any signs of rodent activity- this could be droppings, live rodents, rodent burrows outside your facility, gnaw marks where they may have been chewing, or rodent oily smear marks (this is a black looking appearance from the oil that comes out of the rodent’s skin into its fur and is rubbed onto surfaces it frequently moves through or on).

Ensure your stacking practices are correct and your housekeeping is up to standard, along with your premises having adequate maintenance checks done to ensure all proofing is in place which would work to exclude pests so they can’t get into your premises due to a lack of poor maintenance. Ensure any visible holes in walls, roofs, gaps under doors are closed off etc and are sealed up to prevent pest entry.

Do not let pallets, boxes and goods be stacked too close together providing refuge for pests.

Lastly,  ensure you have effective quality control checks done on all good received before they enter your premises. If pests are found, isolate the stock away from your premises, or return it with your supplier that delivered it, and report the finding to their quality control team to follow up so they can do corrective actions.

Remove pest food sources

All pests need food and water to survive, so food processing and similar sites dealing with food and stock intake are at risk. It is vital firstly that good hygiene practises are being followed, discard expired foods and foodstuffs, clean up thoroughly and ensure no food is left on floors or under working surfaces. Ensure proper cleaning practices are followed and hard to reach areas are free of food and food debris because pests can fit into small areas and have access to these hard to reach areas, which will provide ideal breeding and feeding grounds.

Ensure foodstuffs are kept closed, keep waste bins clean, discard trash on a regular basis, and keep your waste areas clean and orderly. Ensure all high traffic and low traffic areas are kept clean and mopped regularly.

Ensure pests can’t enter

Ensure all holes, gaps in walls and floors are closed. Ensure cable runs into buildings have gaps sealed off preventing pest and vermin entry. Ensure all doors are adequately sealed with a door sweep at the bottom to prevent pest or rodent entry. A rat or mouse can squeeze its way under a door if it has a gap to allow it in. If the rodent can fit its head through any gap, its body will squeeze through and follow. The same procedure should apply for windows, air conditioners, vents etc to prevent pests entry.

Make use of a reputable and registered company

We encourage clients to ensure service delivery continues to their sites even during a hard lockdown because if regular service intervals are not maintained, pests will breed out of control causing a very high health risk.

Any Facility Managers life will be made a lot easier if our integrated pest management programme is introduced which can be tailor-made to suit your business needs. Our integrated pest management plan consists of inspection, identification, treatment, reporting, findings and recommendations. Follow up procedures and corrective actions are also a part of our service offering, and one of our trained sales personnel can provide you with a cost-effective pest control program to suit your needs and one’s budget, especially during these trying times.

Flick has been around in South Africa for over 50 years and does have the knowledge and know-how to assist you.

Remember “One Flick and They’re Gone”

Flick Pest Control is here to provide a solution for any pest query you may need help with, or for any other pest control solution, advice or concerns you may encounter. Give us a ring on 087 056 1021, drop us an email on enquiries@flickpest.co.za or drop us a comment on our blog or social media platforms.

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