Effective pest management is essential in any facility that processes food. Nobody likes to buy a product only to discover it contains ingredients that weren’t disclosed on the label, so a pest infestation may be disastrous for sales and brand credibility. However, pest control in such settings is also quite delicate. Pest control treatments provide a unique risk to food security and must be handled with care. Integrated pest management is a set of practices that can help you keep pests at bay while also meeting the specific needs of a food plant’s environment.

By the time you notice an infestation, it may be too late to do much beyond spraying with a pesticide. There is usually another period of the life cycle where prophylactic measures might be taken. The timeliness of preventative measures is crucial for their success. Therefore, once the pest has been accurately identified, surveillance can begin to prevent an infestation.

Actions to Prevent

Prevention is the most important measure that food processing facilities can take to lower the probability of a pest infestation. There are numerous approaches to prevention. The two most fundamental are prevention by keeping them out and maintaining cleanliness. Infestation can be avoided, and a more orderly, efficient, and secure workplace can result if pests are kept outside and good sanitation practices are implemented inside.

From the sourcing of ingredients to the packaging and distribution of finished goods, proper pest management is an absolute necessity in the food and beverage industry. Knowing the suppliers’ methods of pest control is also important for delivering pest-free goods.

Controlling Pests: Seven Easy Steps

1. Inspection

Inspections at regular intervals are the backbone of a successful effective pest management program. In the food processing industry, weekly inspections are the norm, though some facilities may conduct them more frequently. Regular inspections should look for entry points, food and water sources, and harborage zones that could encourage pest problems in high-risk areas such as receiving docks, storage areas, employee break rooms, sites of recent ingredient spills, etc.

2. Take Preventative Measures.

Once weaknesses in your pest management program have been identified through routine inspections, you can take corrective action to eliminate the threat they pose before it escalates. Exclusion, or doing structural repair to eliminate potential entry openings found during the inspection, is one of the most effective preventative strategies.

By eliminating pests mechanically, you may lessen your reliance on harmful chemicals. In the same way that proper cleanliness and housekeeping remove pests’ food and water supplies, they also make a home less inviting to unwanted visitors.

3. Identification

The habits of many pests vary. Pests can be eradicated more effectively and with less collateral damage to other organisms if the troublesome species are first identified. Correct identification of the pest is the first step in any professional pest management program. Make sure the company you hire to control pests has extensive training in recognising and preventing pest infestations. Keep in mind that safety comes first.

4. Analysis

Your next step, after confirming the pest’s identification, is to determine how it got into your building in the first place. Is there a buildup of moisture or leftover food that could be luring it? So, how about smells? Maybe they’re entering through cracks in the foundation or walls. Could there be pests in inbound cargo? The most effective method of management can be determined by responding to these inquiries.

5. Decide On A Treatment

Methods like exclusion and trapping, which don’t involve chemicals, are prioritized in integrated pest management systems. Using chemicals in the least volatile formulations in carefully selected areas to treat a specific pest is an option when other methods of control have failed or are not suitable. Apply the appropriate treatments where needed, but stop short of using more than necessary. The “right treatment” is often a combination of responses, such as chemical treatments, baiting, and trapping.

But by prioritizing non-chemical options, you can make sure your pest management program is effective in eradicating pests while posing the least risk to your food safety program, non-target organisms, and the environment. Increases in pest control audit scores are to be expected as well.

6. Checking In

To prevent further infestations and get rid of the ones that already exist, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of pest activity as well as any changes to the building’s layout or operations. Due to the infrequency of visits from a professional exterminator, your employees will have to keep an eye on the IPM program every day. Staff members should be aware of any sanitation issues that could affect the project and report any signs that pests are around. When it comes to responding to a real pest presence, you don’t have a day to waste.

7. Documentation

Truth be told, a visit from the food safety auditor can be extremely detrimental to your organization’s growth. Your IPM program must be ready to show off come inspection time; pest control can make up as much as 20% of your total score. One of the first things an analyst will look for is current documentation of your pest control practices. Scope of work, pest activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap layout maps, approved pesticide lists, pesticide usage reports, and applicator licenses are all important pieces of paper.

Food Safety And Effective Pest Management

There are over a million different kinds of insects, and many of them have learned to rely on humans for food. Infestations of grain and processed grain products are caused by many different kinds of beetles, moths, and other bugs. While others, like the moth, do well in warehouses and grocery stores, some, like the red flour beetle, prefer the inside of food processing machinery. 

Pests are not limited to grains; high-protein foods like dried meat and nuts also attract their own sets of unwanted visitors. For example, foreign grain beetles and yellow mealworms can grow in spills and scraps and become a problem, even though they have never lived in our products.

Tiny pests like psocids and nearly microscopic cheese mites can cause big problems due to the wet conditions they thrive in around food plants. Then there are the standard pests that cause problems in both commercial and residential settings. The more well-known pests, such as rats, mice, ants, and roaches, are all original members of the food producer rogues’ gallery.


Insects and rodents aren’t just an annoyance; they can also have serious consequences for your and your family’s health. This is why it’s so important to take measures to prevent insect and bug infestations in buildings where people live, work, and learn.

When trying to stop a pest infestation, it’s important to find and seal off any places where the pests could get in. Pests can be kept at bay if food is stored correctly and trash is taken out regularly. Consistent cleaning can help get rid of pests by removing the food and shelter they require, as well as sealing up entry points so they can’t get back in. Avoiding pest infestations is crucial to your family’s health and safety at home.

To learn more, stop by your home depot alphington.

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