Pest Management is a necessity in every facility, despite the fact that every creature on our planet plays a unique part in the ecosystem, you certainly don’t want some of them littered all over your premises. Whether you manage a hospital, hotel, food service business, school, residence or commercial complex, no one wants mosquitoes, flies, spiders, beetles, rats, cockroaches, birds, and so on in or around the building.
In fact, the presence of these pests especially in businesses like restaurants and other food services can lead to the authorities shutting down the facility.
So, if you find yourself wondering how to win the battle of keeping your facility free of harmful pests and the contaminants and pathogens they carry in a safe manner, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) may just be what you need.
The idea behind IPM is this: eliminate or mitigate economic and health damages caused by pests by using approaches that minimize the use of chemical pesticides while effectively suppressing pest population.
IPM only relies on chemical treatments when all else fails. Instead, it focuses on proactive prevention like strict sanitation practices and continuous inspections to keep pests away.
How to Manage Pests
Once you see even one of these pests, it usually means there are many more of them nearby – maybe hundreds or more. It is important to take action immediately they are sighted.
- 1. Strict clean up: If you have a general area where people meet to eat like a clubhouse or staff canteen, instruct someone to take the refuse out quickly and ensure food and sugary substances are covered up or taken away. If there is a spill, clean it as soon as possible.
- 2. A small food particle to a human would be a complete meal for a fly or cockroach so wipe spills immediately. You have to be vigilant because once the pests know they can find food there, they will keep coming back.
- 3. Store food carefully: Cockroaches are constantly scavenging. If you run a food services business, you can probably relate to the challenge of keeping them out of stored food. Ensure containers are well sealed, and food is stored well above the floor.
- 4. Change your outdoor lighting: Some lights (e.g mercury vapor lamps) tend to attract flies and other flying insects. Consider replacing them with sodium-vapor lights or specially made “fly lights.” These fly lights should be installed well away from the entrance doors to the building so that they attract the flies and draw them away then trap them.
- 5. Effective barriers: Open doors and windows are one of the fastest ways they can get in. If you can’t close a particular door or window, then consider putting a screen (e.g. mosquito net) over it. Also, check that closed doors form a tight seal around the frame especially wooden doors as they tend to warp depending on the weather.
6. Inspect incoming items: Check any incoming deliveries for cockroaches because they are skilled at hiding in cartons, fabric, paper products, and other packages.
- 7. Install an air curtain: If you have very wide doors that must remain open (such as in a busy warehouse), consider an air curtain. An air curtain is a type of air “wall” that flies and other flying insects can’t penetrate. It’s basically made up of fan or blower mounted directly above exterior doors. Make sure it’s installed by a professional so that they get the air velocity and direction right.
- 8. Automatic doors: Automatic doors will drastically reduce the length of time that a door is left open because someone forgot to shut it after them. This way flies and other flying pests have less chance to get in. Even better, you could install two sets of automatic doors with one set opening only after the other set is closed. This creates a vestibule that further reduces pest traffic.
- 9. Keep the premises clear of clutter: Frequently check for unwanted or disused items that are littered around the premises. Unused cartons are a perfect hiding and nesting place for cockroaches so throw them away promptly.
- 10. Barrier treatments: these are an additional line of defense and it involves trained and licensed exterminators applying safe treatments to the perimeter of the building. They can repel pests for up to three weeks.
Remember that these pests are quite determined and resilient so it’s crucial you have a program in place to stop them immediately. Everyone needs to be on-board to tackle the problem of fly or cockroach infestation.
Although we focused on flies and cockroaches, note that the same methods mentioned here will also work to deter other insects such as mosquitoes and spiders. Using these methods will help keep flies and cockroaches in their natural habitat and out of your facility without using harmful chemicals.