Each new season brings its own set of pest challenges, especially for facilities dealing with foods. In our latest blog we consider the pests businesses need to be mindful of in winter months and offer tips as to how you can leave them out in the cold.
What types of pests can you expect in winter?
The cold and damp weather conditions of winter often force pests like rodents, squirrels, and birds to seek shelter indoors.
Like us humans, they are all on the lookout for shelter, warmth, and food, which unfortunately makes a lot of commercial premises incredibly appealing to them. And food businesses, in particular, are like five-star hotels!
Where might you find pests on your premises?
Production areas – these are a pest’s dream as it’s likely they will have plenty of food debris, moisture, and shelter and lots of places to hide until the coast is clear!
Storage areas – these areas generally have less foot traffic making for a welcome hiding place for sleepy pests.
Loading areas – Small pests like cockroaches, ants and spiders, rodents and mice can easily enter facilities via delivery vehicles and shipping containers so be vigilant about checks when deliveries arrive. In fact, be vigilant about anything and anyone that comes into your premises – they all have potential to bring unwanted pests.
Roof spaces – Squirrels, birds and rats are common roof dwellers who are always on the lookout for voids no matter how tiny! Once inside they can make nests, create a mess, and cause damage and, should they choose to chew through electrical cables, you have an increased risk of fire.
Canteen/ staff rooms – Leftover meals, spilled sugar from the morning coffee rush and overflowing bins can attract a flurry of pest activity in no time at all.
Drains and bathrooms – These moisture rich areas prove to be welcoming conditions for cockroaches, beetles, and flies.
How can I prevent pests entering my property in winter?
- Protect the outside of your premises
If you can stop pests at the front door, you’re at an advantageous start. We suggest getting a pest controller to carry out an audit on your building to help to identify potential entry points for pests. They will also be able to advise on steps which should be taken to ensure protection i.e. sealing up cracks and crevices, or replacing broken ventilation covers.
- Be vigilant about cleanliness
In food premises, cleanliness should be a given, but it is also important for businesses of all types to promote good hygiene among employees. Make sure employees are vigilant about maintaining hygiene standards in communal areas, and if you have cleaning staff, be prescriptive in your expectations of them.
- Implement proper storage procedures
Make sure your employees are practicing stringent storage procedures for goods in. Properly spacing out storage containers can help reduce the number of pest hiding places and removing excessive packaging ensures pests don’t have additional hideouts. Watch out for rodents, which are known to chew through cardboard boxes, so any overflowing recycling piles will be very appealing to them.
- Set up pest monitoring systems
Conventional methods of pest detection often rely on visible signs of an infestation, such as droppings, structural damage, or pest sightings. By the time these signs are evident, the infestation has typically advanced to a stage where it’s more difficult and costly to manage. Sensor technology, on the other hand, allows for the early detection of rodents, often before visible signs are apparent.
- Train staff on how to spot and report signs of pest activity
Ask your pest controller if they can carry out staff training for you. Your employees are the eyes and ears of the business, so if they are tuned in to potential signs and persistent hot spots, they can flag any issues quickly.
We hope this you a good understanding of ways you can effectively help keep pests out of your facility this winter. Be sure to involve your pest control provider in your plans, as they are a key partner in prevention.
If you’d like to speak to a professional pest controller about an audit or staff training, get in touch here.