Stop cockroaches from bugging your premises

1.     Prevent access to food sources

Cockroaches will eat anything and will happily chow down on any foody temptation that comes their way. Like humans, they enjoy a mixed diet of protein and carbohydrates, but unlike us, they can last one or two weeks without water, providing the moisture content of the food they’re having is high.

As such, the best way to rid your premises of cockroaches is to eliminate access to food supply.

While they can live for a few weeks without water, they ideally don’t want to, so make sure you remove any temptations, such as standing water in sinks, buckets or troughs.

Keep food sources away from cockroaches by cleaning away any waste effectively and ensuring any temptations are safely packed away in airtight containers within a store cupboard where possible. Bins are, of course, a cockroach’s dream, so be sure to keep refuse areas clean and tidy; it only takes the residue from a single tin to tempt the hungry cockroach.

Although you can take the necessary procedures to limit the food accessible to cockroaches, this will not remove them 100%. Cockroaches are known to consume other forms of food that may sound strange to you and me. Studies show that cockroaches will eat paper, glue and even turn to cannibalism when traditional forms of food are not available.

  1. Batten down the hatches

Cockroaches release a pheromone in their droppings, which offers a welcome light to fellow cockroaches to come and join the party. Any areas of clutter within your workplace, especially if damp, are the perfect place for cockroaches to make their new home and invite their friends to join them.

Think about damp areas you might have on your premises, such as pipes and drains or piles of leaves; these are the perfect cockroach breeding grounds.

Ensuring regular maintenance checks in these areas will expose any signs of concern, as well as highlighting any remedy works which may be taken in order to prevent cockroaches making their mark.

Consider any access points from which cockroaches might enter your property, through cracks and gaps in walls, skirting boards, sockets or through kitchen and bathroom pipework and fill in where possible.

If you need to seek professional advice as to a potential cockroach issue, please contact us.

 

Do I have mice or rats on my premises?

If you’re already asking this question, the answer is likely to be YES.

Even if you never see the actual perpetrators themselves, mice and rats leave pretty damning evidence as to their presence on your premises

Below are some simple ways to determine whether you have a rodent infestation and identify whether it’s a rat or a mouse.

Look for droppings –

Finding rodent dropping on your premises is a clear sign of pest and also helps you to identify whether rats or mice are your unwelcome guests.

Make sure you get a close look, as from a distance, the droppings may just look like a pile of dirt which you may ignore.

Close inspection of the droppings will quickly help you to identify the perpetrator; shiny black and between ½ and ¾ inch long says rat, while small, smooth droppings with a pointed edge says mouse. Rat droppings tend to be in one particular place and mouse droppings are found scattered indiscriminately – effectively wherever they are active.

The urine that they often dribble tends to be invisible – but it’s important to know that it is still hazardous – Weils disease is spread by Rat urine and can be fatal.

Can you see teeth/chew marks?

Another tell tale sign as to what you’re dealing is teeth/chew marks, usually found on wooden surfaces like door frames, skirting boards and inside cupboards, however they chew on any hard surface – which sometimes includes water/gas pipes and electrical/data cables.

Typically, rat teeth marks are 1/8-inch long, while smaller, scratchier marks usually indicate mice. You will likely be able to hear them gnawing away at the wood with their teeth and a little investigation should be able to distinguish where they’ve been and how they’ve got in there.

Are there any tracks and tail trails?

Any dust within a room or space will highlight tiny footprints or lines from tails being dragged along. Check skirting boards, in corners and near sources of food. These footprints or lines may even be able to help you determine where the perpetrator is entering and leaving your premises.

Can you see any smears?

These canny rodents tend to stick to walls and skirting boards when moving around your premises, so if you see any unexplainable marks, you may well have rats or mice. Rodents have grease on their fur and after time they leave a greasy mark on corners of walls, around holes that they squeeze through and on electrical cables that they climb on

Is there a musky smell in the air? 

Rodents have a very distinctive smell, so if you start to notice a musky odour that you haven’t smelt before, you might want to investigate further

Can you hear scratching and squeaking?

These nocturnal rodents rule the roost at nights, so if there is someone on your premises overnight, they may well have heard scratching and squeaking noises. Worse still, they may well have seen a rat or mouse scurrying across the floor!

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, its highly likely that you have a mouse or rat issue.

We’re here to help.

5 ways to get on top of your flying insect problem…

Flying insect issues are one of the top issues in pest control – and we’ve definitely all experienced them. They cause a number of issues, from a physical contamination risk with food to being downright unsightly. Here’s our 5 top tips to get on top of your flying insect problem:

1. Shut them out! Screening doors and windows in food preparation areas is essential. Ensure the mesh is at least 1.5mm in size to keep all of those pesky flying insects out.

2. Electric fly killers are one of the most popular ways to combat this issue. They coax in the pests with ultra violet light until they land on a sticky pad or electronic grid. Ask us for advice on where to place them – as other light sources and drafts can affect how successful they are.

3. Good hygiene – it seems obvious, but without it you’ll always be on the back foot when fighting pests. Starting with securing external waste bins, and keeping on top of drain cleaning will discourage breeding.

4. Chemical treatments will help to control numbers in flying insects. It’s worth bearing in mind that unless the breeding areas are treated too, this would be a limited solution and you’d likely land back to square one. Tackle the breeding areas first, and you’re onto a winner.

5. Where exactly are the breeding areas? Drains and gutters (i.e stagnating waters) are ideal areas for flying insects to breed and should be removed and cleaned. Cluster flies may attempt to hibernate in buildings over winter months, but the warmth could cause them to wrongly awaken. This would cause issues with slow moving flies throughout your building. Treating these areas in autumn ensures you won’t have an issue during winter.

Do you need advice on your flying insect concerns? Contact us for a chat today.

Pest Control Documentation – A Secret Weapon

As an esteemed pest control company operating throughout the UK, we’re up to scratch with the do’s and don’ts of documentation. If you use, or have used a pest control company in the past, you’ll be well aware of your onsite folder, usually supplied to customers once a contract is agreed. A paper trail is undoubtedly needed to prove a company is well on top of their pest control matters.

Here’s a list of FIVE things you should be able to find within your onsite folder;

1. A copy of work agreed with your pest control contractor, including what services are included. A sheet will be included with all contact details for your provider.

2. A COSHH/RISK assessment that should cover all procedures, including what pesticides have been used on site. This shows areas have been assessed and that the safest, or most appropriate product has been used.

3. Manufacturer’s safety data sheets – these will cover all pesticides used on site. These sheets should come with the products and detail all safety precautions, instructions and advice.

4. A visit log should also be included in the onsite folder, containing the dates of the visit and name of the technician as well as details of any toxic materials that have been used. This will help you keep up to date on when your last site visit was, and when your next one is due.

5. Lists of where pest monitors have been placed around the site is essential – along with the date and any other relevant information.

If you need more information on your onsite documentation, we’re always here to help.

More than you bargained for…

When thinking of pest control, you’d probably think of restaurants, eateries and takeaways first. But what about those shopping centres and retail parks? Yes, they need pest control too. At risk of jeopardising the reputation of high street stores and entertainment complexes, these pests are the best example of why prevention is better than a cure. 

Urban pests have found their ideal habitat in retail complexes today. Individual shop units with lots of nooks and crannies, connected by a network of heating, electricity and water services. Throw into the mix food outlets, continual warmth throughout the year and a constant food supply and you’ll get the perfect environment for urban pests.  

The problem peaks with the obstacle of multiple shops and business owners each using their own pest control services, or nothing at all. Multiple pest control businesses each with a different way of working are conducting under one roof, creating a fragmented attempt at a solution. With little or no communication or plan, is it any wonder the problem is growing? 

A common frustration for pest control services operating in shopping centres, is that even if they do tackle the issue in one shop, they can rarely gain access to another shop (who has their own pest control contract elsewhere). Therefore, the problem will continue to return unless change happens. The management of the complex could eradicate this issue with a complex-wide pest management programme, whereby all of the tenant’s chosen contractors would work under the same scheme. Ensuring a constant dialogue between tenants and contractors can help to work towards a greater goal. 

Are you the owner of a unit or a shopping centre manager? Get in touch. 

Take our advice; it’s worth it in the long run

We always stress to clients looking to build or refurbish premises that it would be advisable to seek our advice right from the planning stage.

One client chose to do just that this month and felt all the better for doing so.

Lake District Farmers have built up a strong reputation for the supply of premium quality, breed specific meat products, direct to fine dining establishments throughout the UK and as a BRC AA graded business they take pest control very seriously.

Such is their success, they are currently working on plans to build a brand new bespoke meat plant in Ulverston, Cumbria – designed specifically to aid and improve their ageing process.

Martin Harvey said: “We always ask companies at this stage to engage with us, tell us their plans so we can advise on our areas of expertise – more often than not this approach saves money long term and all of the time it lowers the risk factor of pests posing problems. We’re in this for the long term so we feel that this type of approach is the right approach”

Lake District Farmers’ owner Dan Austin chose to do just that; inviting Martin along to a four-hour design and planning meeting alongside key decision makers and influencers.

Dan said: “It wasn’t something I would have thought about to be honest, but when Martin suggested it, it made perfect sense.

“By coming in at the early stages he has been instrumental in some of the key decisions made and highlighted potential issues we hadn’t thought about; and not just about pest control”

“Things like having a non-return drain in place, which you can only do when putting main drainage in are important things to consider, yet they weren’t on my radar until he brought it up.

“We certainly don’t want to build the structure and then have to start changing things; it is not efficient and it can prove costly.

“We have complete faith in the advice and support Harvey Environmental has provided so far, and long may this continue into the future.”

If you’re looking to change the layout of an existing premises or starting work on a new build, can we help you?

Left scratching your head as to where pests are coming from?

Your premises are immaculate and hygiene ratings five-star; but then you get an infestation of pests. Why?

Below are FIVE reasons why you might be at risk:

  1. Location

Whether you’re situated in a leafy suburb or at the heart of the city, pests are all around. This is particularly so if any building works are going on around you, as the pests have been displaced from their safe havens.

  1. Supply chain

Deliveries to your hotel or restaurant will likely happen every day, from various suppliers; how do you know they don’t come with any hidden extras? Moths, fruit flies, bed bugs, cockroaches and mice are some of the supplier stowaways seeking solace in your premises, so when you get any delivery be very vigilant about checking inside the boxes or packages you receive.

  1. Customers

It would be rude to screen your guests for bed bugs or their pets for fleas, but how do you know they’re not bringing in any extra, unwelcome guests free of charge? What you can do is make your staff aware of what to look for and how to tackle any issues discreetly.

  1. Maintenance issues

Every building has its share of gaps and cracks. Keeping on top of any potential entry points into your premises will prevent any bugs coming in without you knowing. They can get into the smallest of spaces, so be sure to check every nook and cranny and fill in where you can.

  1. Lack of staff knowledge

The more eyes and ears on pest control matters, the better. You can’t be in all places at the same time, but it is likely that a large proportion of your hotel or restaurant is being used every day. From bedrooms and bathrooms to cellars and storerooms, ensure vigilance throughout.

Simple, small steps but well worth the effort.

If you would like to enquire about a site visit or training for your staff, please contact us at enquiries@harvey-enviro.com

 

Eurgh

Whenever we post stories about restaurants which have been fined or closed down because of poor hygiene standards on our social channels the general feedback is ‘eurgh’.

We agree that this five-letter exclamation of disgust, pretty much sums it up; particularly for anyone who has actually eaten at that restaurant themselves in the past. Eurgh!

When it comes to food there can absolutely be no margin for error when it comes to pest control. Failure to prevent or tackle pests on your premises can lead to customer illness, a bad reputation and potential closure.

So, what can restauranteurs do to protect their customers and their business from the unnecessary eurgh?

Prevention

Yes, we’ve all heard the saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this also applies to pest control. In fact, it is the very best form of pest management.

Pests are always looking for that opportunity to access food, warmth and shelter and it open takes a gap in the wall and a few crumbs of food to entice them in. Any exposed food, unwashed containers or pans and any remaining food debris left on the premises overnight are enough to bring them your way.

Bins too are a huge attraction to the hungry mouse or rat, so be sure to demonstrate vigilance when disposing of waste; get them outside your premises and they’re one whisker closer to the inside.

Ensure regimented cleaning processes which everyone adheres to and check, check and check again. Are all storage containers secured before you put them in the store cupboard? Have pallets coming in from an external supplier been checked for any unwanted extras?

Know your enemy

Good housekeeping practices employed by all staff will certainly help, but this must be coupled with regular inspection and monitoring from professional pest controller, working closely with a nominated person within the business.

Key to this approach is understanding the enemy and ensuring early detection of any pests. Rodent droppings and any sign of gnawed products or foods are huge warning signs, but that’s not to say there aren’t other problems which you are lurking in cupboards and storerooms.

The sooner a problem is discovered, the quicker a solution can be made.

The more information a pest controller has, the more effective the intervention will be; hence the importance of up-to-date records. Any sightings should be recorded accurately and with as much information as possible, as should any pest treatments advised and carried out.

We carry out free site visits for any restauranteur looking to use our expertise, and with a wealth of big brand clients to our name, we must be doing something right.

Do I need a site survey?

We’re amazed by the number of pest controllers offering a price for their service over the phone or by email. To us, it’s like pricing for a house to be decorated without looking at the rooms.

It is impossible to give a true price for a job likes ours without figuring out what we’re dealing with first; yet so many seem to do it.

We insist on an initial site survey before taking on any client. It is not only vital for us to familiarise ourselves with the premises a client is seeking our expertise on, but also to ensure the client feels happy that we are the right people for the job. Better still, we offer them free of charge.

There is no one size fits all solution in this business, every client has individual needs which we need to cater for, whether that be remedy works straight away or a strategic pest control plan for the foreseeable future.

So, what should a site survey involve?

  1. First, the visit should be booked in advance and the client advised to ensure any relevant representatives should be in attendance.
  2. The pest controller should look around all areas of the site/premises taking notes and photographs all the time. Make sure they have access to all areas; there’s nowhere a pest can’t get!
  3. Make any previous pest control reports available to look through, having a detailed view of any historic information is very valuable as to your potential needs.
  4. The pest controller now has all the information they require to go away and create a report detailing their observations.
  5. When you receive the report, make sure you understand the details of the treatment plan they are looking to deliver before entering into any commercial agreement
  6. And it goes without saying – read the Ts and Cs thoroughly.

If you would like a visit from a professional pest controller, get in touch with us here

Putting pest control top of your priorities

When opening a new bar or restaurant, it’s very easy to get carried away with its look and feel, well, that’s the exciting part isn’t it?

Mundane paperwork often comes bottom on the list of priorities, when in reality it should be at least on a par with the front of house fixtures and fittings.

In the mix of that paperwork is pest control, not glamorous, we’ll admit, but it is absolutely critical to the future success of your eatery.

Having an effective pest control plan in place is essential to keep unwanted guests out of your premises and preventing them from spreading harmful bacteria (not to mention the often crippling bad publicity that pests can bring to a business)

In addressing this issue, you need to nominate a person in-house to look after pest control, who can download the basic information they need here

But we would 100% advise that, at this point, you also appoint a professional pest controller. You may promise to remain vigilant about regular checks on deliveries coming in, the cleanliness of external areas at all times and ensuring regular all-round checks across the premises, but in our experience this often does not happen.

Pest control can easily fall by the wayside when there are so many other priorities, yet failing to keep on top of it could see your pride and joy tarred with a poor hygiene record and even closure.

Is it really worth the risk?

Prevention is a far better, less expensive route than waiting for a problem to arise and dealing with it at that point; or worse still, still ignoring the issue.

We’re here to help; talk to us.