Written by: Stuart Steele
Why are Pest Control Services vital?
Pest control services are vital. Pests carry an arsenal of harmful bacterium that contaminates food and equipment and do cause a variety of illnesses. These harmful bacteria can be transferred to food by contact with any pest’s organic material, faecal matter/ hair. These unwanted visitors cost businesses and hurt the bottom line not to mention the damage to infrastructure, fabrics and food.
What classifies a Pest as being a “Pest”?
A pest is a living organism animal or plant which is invasive or troublesome to plants or animals, human or human concerns, livestock, or human structures. It is a fluid concept, as an organism can be a pest in one setting but beneficial, domesticated or acceptable in another scenario.
Pest types include:
- Rodents: rats, mice
- Insects: flies, cockroaches, beetles, ants, termites, wasps, bees and various insects that can be found in stored products or pose any threat to human well-being.
- Birds: Pigeon, myna bird, crow, or any other bird species that have invaded a structure.
What can be done about Pests?
Pest proof your premises:
The building must be in good structural condition and all pest entry points such as gaps in walls, gaps under external doors need to be closed off. Once a pest has entry and they will establish favourable breeding sites, also know as “pest harbourage points”.
- Wire mesh screens to pest proof air vents and windows. Air curtains are used on factory door entry points to prevent or limit flying insect entry such as flies.
- Sealing holes around the structure where pests can gain access.
- Make sure the floors, walls, doors, roof structure and window openings are in a good state of repair with no gaps or spaces. Rodents need only 1-2 cm space to enter under a door and we suggest making use of door sweeps.
- Well Fitted drain covers to prevent pests gaining entry
Good Housekeeping Practices
- It’s vital to inspect all stock on delivery to ensure that there are no visible signs of damage by pests or evidence of their activity or even sightings of pests within the stock delivered.
- The premises and refuse areas must be kept clean and hygienic. It’s vital to ensure regular removal of refuse and waste takes place by a contracted waste removal specialist. Fit bins with tight fitting lids used to prevent pest entry.
- Food should be stored off the floors on suitable shelves or on top of pallets and not stacked against walls, but a gap of at least 30cm away from walls be maintained to prevent favourable pest harbourage points.
- It is recommended that food stuffs are stored in sealed containers and where possible, be stored in rodent-proof containers.
- Vegetation/foliage around the external perimeters of the premises should be kept to a minimum to prevent rodents finding suitable breeding grounds.
Fitting Insect Screens
- Windows that open into food preparation areas must be fitted with fly screens that keep out the common house fly.
- Screens should be installed that they can be easily cleaned and maintained.
Electronic Fly Catchers
- Flying insects can be controlled, monitored and numbers limited by making use of an electronic fly catching device.
Upon site inspection, a Flick representative will give recommendations on the location, cleaning and maintenance of this type of device. The maintenance and monitoring records of this equipment will become part of the clients HACCP based system documentation.
Pest Control Service Level Agreement
- Most businesses dealing with food products should employ the services of a pest control company to monitor the premises on a regular basis. The recommended frequency is a monthly service for food handling facilities.
- The pest control contract for such sites will include the inspection for the presence of all pests noted within the service level agreement
– the treatment of the foresaid pests and to monitor the pest proofing of the premises and the eradication of any infestations found
– providing recommendations on housekeeping, stacking and proofing to the client.
- Flick will react to emergency services within 24 hours in terms of the client’s good manufacturing practises in accordance to the clients’ pre requisites as set out by their food safety inspectors.
Flick will provide a written service report after each visit which is kept in an on-site pest control file on the clients’ premises, which will fall part of our clients HACCP based system documentation
Inspection & Monitoring
- All the areas of any premises, including a food premises should be checked regularly for signs of pests such as rodent droppings, rodent smear marks, cockroaches, flies and any other insects.
- The client’s staff should be made aware of the signs of pests and what action they must take should they discover pests or a sighting. Flick offers in-house basic pest management training to staff, notably to food handling premises that are HACCP compliant.
- Sightings by the client should be reported to Flick as soon as possible to ensure the respective corrective actions can be taken.
- Foods should be checked for the presence of pests on a day to day basis.