The winter season is usually a slower time of the year for food processing and storage facilities but that doesn’t mean pests are any less of a threat.
Proper exclusion tactics – caulking around doors and windows, repair of ventilation screens and filling up openings in the roof and foundation – will help keep pests from gaining access. There are steps for indoor pest prevention that will improve the performance of your pest program.
Kolbin Bertilson, Sprague’s Colorado branch manager, identified four areas, in addition to the previously mentioned exterior exclusion, that facility and QA managers should add to their winter checklist:
- Close the Open Condition List
Documentation – Making sure your documentation is complete and up-to-date is an ongoing process, but winter is a good time to review historical pest data with your pest management service provider.
“Most food plants are required to conduct a quarterly review and studying pest trend data including site maps, is time well spent,” says Bertilson. “The data will show you where and when pest activity took place, what types of pests were encountered and this will allow you to take preemptive action to eliminate any threat.”
Tackle the Open Condition List – The slower winter season is optimal to tackle pending items on the condition list (i.e. structural repairs, sanitation, etc.) for review with the maintenance staff and completed.
Sanitation – Research has shown that odors strongly influence insects and rodents when they target structures. These odors are not a potpourri blend but instead include feces from pests, rotting food, waste and the like.
Investigate and eliminate the root source of these pest-attracting odors by apply bacterial enzymes to areas frequently visited by rodents and pests. These include production floors, especially along walls where rodents frequently travel, food preparation surfaces, conveyors, storage racks or virtually anywhere pests land or travel.
“Using biological control products delivers a more effective solution to the pest odor/attractant problem than using traditional cleaning products,’ says Bertilson.
It is important to get under, move or disassemble equipment for deep cleaning. He adds, “Don’t overlook exposed beams, pipes and rafters where dust can gather and attract stored product pests and rodents.”
Bertilson also encourages clients to make sure they maintain an 18-inch clearance along walls in storage areas so pest management and sanitation services can be conducted year-round.
Employee Education/Training – With documented employee training now required under the Food Safety and Modernization Act, facilities can use the winter months to catch up on their employee education.
Make sure your facility and plant managers have the tools to train frontline employees on the latest audit standards, pest identification, and food safety and sanitation protocols. This can be accomplished through in-person training sessions, (Sprague offers client-specific training programs) handouts or posters in break rooms and production floor. To learn more about Sprague’s training programs, write to us at email@example.com
or talk to one of our pest solutions specialists at 800.272.4988
“Facility and plant managers need to prove they are making improvement when it comes to employee education and winter is a good time to kick start these efforts,” says Bertilson.