Integrated pest management Tips
Facility cleaning managers often have an array of concerns that need to be managed on a daily basis. For most, one of the most prevalent concerns is how to ensure proper sanitation of the facility.
When developing a program to ensure cleanliness, one of the most essential considerations should be having a pest management program in place. Pest problems are often caused or exacerbated by poor sanitation, and it is important that managers understand the types of pests they should be on the look out for and how they can be prevented.
A well-maintained building can help safeguard against pest problems, which is why managers should proactively search for and repair any vulnerabilities in the facility. As part of this, it is often helpful to partner with a pest management professional to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that focuses on identifying and eliminating the conditions that favor pest populations — conditions that provide ample sources of food, water and shelter.
Facility cleaning teams play an important role in maintaining effective IPM programs. The success of strategies such as structural repairs, ongoing sanitation and the education of people/staff on site, depend on the facility’s cooperation.
When working to build an IPM program, all aspects of the facility are called into question. Pest management professionals, in conjunction with facility cleaning managers, should take note of a variety of exterior and interior concerns.
On the exterior, managers want to take a close look at roofs. Roofs provide roosting and nesting sites for a variety of birds, as well as entry for rodents via access points, such as vents. Roofs should be inspected regularly to determine what could be done to modify ledges and seal any entry points.
If the facility has outside storage, make sure all objects are up off the ground and stored above pavement or asphalt. This will limit the potential of pests finding their way into the stored items before they are brought indoors.
Landscaping should also be maintained, preventing areas for pests to hide and flourish. Plant life should be 18 inches away from the foundation perimeter, branches and bushes should not contact the building, and grass should be cut low.
Managers are advised to pay particular attention to trash and dumpster areas, as these provide both shelter and food to pests. Sanitation conditions in these areas are critically important. Dumpsters should be equipped with a lid that shuts properly and trash areas should be regularly inspected and cleaned.
Finally, facility cleaning managers should closely examine entryways. It is essential that all exterior openings, such as doors and windows seal completely. The installation of door sweeps can help seal the gap between the floor and the door, and screens should be installed in all windows. Additionally, any gaps or spaces along the exterior frame of windows, or within the walls, should be sealed.
Moving indoors, there are a handful of areas to watch for. For example, be critical of any incoming shipments. Facilities that receive shipments of product should inspect all packages for signs of pests. Depending on the materials used for packaging, shipments could be home to pests such as cockroaches and rodents.
These pests, in addition to flies, are also drawn to moisture. For that reason, sewers, drains and grease traps should be properly maintained, cleaned and sanitized to ensure moisture and food items are not present.
Facilities should ensure items stored inside, such as food and office supplies, are organized and that food items are arraigned from older to newer items. Additionally, if food is being prepared, managers should understand the drainage pattern of the room to ensure water and organic debris is cleaned and sanitized.
In addition to the above, internal and external inspections should be performed regularly. These inspections will identify pest entry points such as cracks and gaps around pipes or vents that should be sealed to prevent easy access into the building.
Common pest &how they get in premices
There are a variety of pests that plague vulnerable facilities. In fact, many pests — in search of food, water and shelter — find comfort in the environments facilities provide. Understanding the most frequent offenders will help managers prevent future pest problems.
Birds are considered to be an occasional invader and may enter a facility looking for a place to roost or nest. While food-related facilities provide the perfect combination of food and shelter, birds can become problematic at a variety of facilities. These pests can damage or destroy property and are considered to be a health concern as they eat and contaminate food items.
Managers should be on the lookout for signs of bird activity, which can indicate a problem. One of the most common signs is the presence of droppings. Pigeon droppings, in particular, are very acidic and can deface marble, limestone, painted surfaces and even car finishes.
Rodents are known to destroy a variety of materials and cause structural damage as they gnaw through wallboards, wood, plaster and electrical wiring. In addition to being a structural nightmare, rodents are a medical concern, as they are known to transmit various diseases and can contaminate food.
Mice are the most commonly encountered and economically important of all the commensal rodents. They are capable of entering buildings through openings the size of a dime and are prolific breeders that can transmit disease by contaminating food with their droppings and/or urine.
Norway rats are the largest of the commensal rodents and the most commonly encountered rats in temperate environments. They are capable of entering buildings through openings the size of a quarter and are known to destroy materials by gnawing, contaminating stored food products and are vectors of many diseases.
Roof Rats are the smaller of the two commensal rats and more common in subtropical and tropical regions, but are just as problematic.
Ants, due to their sophisticated social structure, small size and efficiency at finding food, can become problematic in a variety of settings. These insects can reproduce at a rapid rate, and their small size allows them to enter structures through the tiniest cracks and crevices, making them difficult to control.
Cockroaches are one of the more prolific pests, often found in facilities that provide access to food and water. They enter facilities organically and are often brought in via deliveries. They are considered to be a major health and safety concern as they are capable of spreading nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria. If cockroaches are found, corrective treatment should be taken immediately.
Flies are not only nuisance pests, many add to disease transmission. Fly control is one of the more challenging pest control problems as larval development sites must be located and eliminated for success. Sanitation and exclusion should be a primary focus when resolving a fly infestation.
Developing a proper IPM program is essential for a variety of facility types, and contributes to the health and safety of building occupants. Facility cleaning managers should partner with a reputable pest management firm to develop a specific program suited for their unique needs. -