The Importance of Commercial Pest Control
There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the presence of pests in commercial facilities, such as schools, offices, hospitals and food processing plants. Unfortunately, the potential for infestations in commercial environments is great due to increased harborage areas and the presence of food and water.
Even though pests and rodents are small, their effect on your business’s bottom line can be enormous. Just one pest-related incident can lead to potential fines from state and federal inspection agencies, and a tarnished reputation among your current and prospective customers. Another concern is the fact that pests can pose serious risks to the health and safety of your employees.
The value of working with a licensed pest control company to establish an effective commercial pest control program for your business is priceless. Not only will it give you peace of mind in knowing that you are doing your part in protecting public health, food and property from pests, but it will also allow you to focus your time and efforts on what matters most to your business – providing outstanding service to your customers.
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Not surprisingly, restaurants – from fast food joints to five-star establishments – are natural magnets for pests. They provide easy access to an abundance of food sources in a temperature-controlled environment, which is ideal for pests to set up shop. While a number of species can be problematic in food service settings, rodents such as mice and rats, cockroaches, flies and stored product pests tend to be of the utmost concern for restaurant owners and operators. And, with good reason, as an infestation can result in food contamination, fines from health departments, damage to the restaurant’s reputation, and temporary or permanent closure, in the most severe cases.
Due to changing food safety regulations, it’s essential for restaurateurs to work directly with a licensed pest control professional, who can conduct a thorough inspection and identify conditions that are conducive to pest activity. Restaurant owners and operators should also make it a point to educate staff about proper sanitation practices and pest prevention. In many cases, a pest control company can help to educate employees. These efforts will go a long way in protecting the establishment from health code violations and keeping its reputation intact.
Food can become contaminated at any point during production, but unsanitary conditions coupled with disease-carrying pests in food processing facilities can cause widespread illness outbreaks. Food processing facilities offer the perfect conditions for a number of pests, including rodents, flies, cockroaches and stored product pests, such as beetles and Indian meal moths – all of which can be the primary culprits behind the adulteration of the food supply.
Proper pest control in these facilities is even more important with the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which gives the FDA much more authority and oversight. As a result, a lack of or inadequate pest control programs can result in fines and shutdowns.
The best method of pest control in food processing facilities is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) whereby facility managers work with their pest control professional partners in the identification of pest hot spots, regular and thorough monitoring, proper sanitation practices, pest prevention procedures in receipt of deliveries, appropriate lighting and landscaping, among others.
All school environments – from kindergarten classrooms to university campuses – face unique challenges when it comes to implementing pest control programs. School officials are not only responsible for protecting the wellbeing of students from serious health threats posed by the presence of pests, but they are also required to follow state and federal mandates regarding an increased focus on using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and limiting the use of product treatments.
A variety of pests can be found in school settings. Flies, cockroaches, ants, spiders, stinging insects and rodents are some of the most common suspects. Head lice are also problematic amongst students, but, unlike other pests, louse control should be handled by a health professional. While often difficult, it is important to ensure all points of entry are sealed and no hidden harborage areas exist. By partnering with a licensed pest control professional who can implement proper pest-proofing steps throughout the year and educate facility personnel about pest prevention and potential problems, schools can succeed in keeping pest problems to a minimum.
Healthcare facilities, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical care centers and physical or mental rehabilitation centers, must meet the highest level of sanitation, while caring for very sensitive populations. As various pests pose a number of health threats through the spread of bacteria and contamination of surfaces, medical supplies and equipment, the prevention of pest-borne infections is crucial. The size of healthcare facilities tends to be a major factor when it comes to proper pest control and prevention – the larger the facility, the bigger the potential for pest infestations. However, even smaller facilities can be a target for pests. An effective pest control program developed by a trusted partner is an investment in the health of patients and staff alike and in maintaining a sound public reputation.
The pests that present the highest health risks in all healthcare facilities, regardless of size and type, are cockroaches, rodents, ants, flies and bed bugs.
The lodging industry relies heavily on reviews of guests to maintain their reputations, but nothing can have more of a negative effect on an establishment than reports of pest sightings and infestations. With their multiple entrances, restaurants, large laundry rooms, multitude of guest rooms and a constant turnover of guests, hotels are a prime target for pests, including bed bugs, cockroaches, ants and rodents. As such, hotels require a specialized pest prevention program.
By working with trained and licensed pest control professionals, hotel managers can rest assured that any pest problems that may arise will be handled discreetly and efficiently to minimize the effect on the safety and health of guests and staff and safeguard the reputation of the hotel. Additionally, a pest control partner will develop an employee education program, which will outline the significant role they play in pest prevention and detection within the hotel.
Retail spaces and department stores should be a haven for customers to shop. Unfortunately, these facilities are often subject to pest infestations, especially rodents, cockroaches, bed bugs and flies, which can certainly put a damper on an enjoyable shopping experience. There are a handful of factors that can lead to an exacerbated pest problem, including frequently opened doors, cluttered storage areas and a constant flow of foot traffic on the front end. Like other commercial facilities, an infestation in a retail store can jeopardize the brand’s reputation among current and prospective clients. Moreover, pests can damage stock and display items, and expose employees and customers to health implications.
It’s crucial for managers of retail stores to have a plan in place in the event of an infestation. Working directly with a licensed pest control professional will help ensure that pests don’t impact the business’ bottom line.
A clean and safe environment is crucial to a productive workday, but productivity can quickly come to a halt when rumors begin spreading about a bed bug infestation in the building, mice scurrying in desk drawers or flies buzzing around the snack basket in the break room. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for pests, including bed bugs, ants, flies and cockroaches, to find their way into office spaces.
Property managers should partner with a licensed pest control company to develop a specialized pest control plan for the office building. Employees can also do their part in maintaining a clean and pest-free office environment – from wiping up spills in the kitchen to ensuring their workspace is tidy and clean.
Condominiums, apartment complexes and other multi-family environments can pose a number of challenges when it comes to pest control. These managed properties are often subject to bed bugs, cockroaches, flies, wasps and rodents. Some of these pests pose health threats to tenants, while others also cause safety and structural concerns. For example, rodents are known to chew through critical electrical wiring, which can lead to electric fires.
An infestation in a multi-family building is often difficult to pinpoint and control because the units share floors, walls and utility lines, which makes it easier for a problem to spread. There are also communal areas that must be accounted for and maintained, such as hallways, entertainment rooms and fitness centers.
It’s critical for property managers to be proactive in working with a licensed pest control professional before a problem arises that can damage the property’s reputation. Property managers should also make a concerted effort to educate unit owners or renters about pest prevention in their individual spaces and how to properly report pest problems to management.