Pest Prevention Is A Team Effort
Teamwork makes the dream work, whether you’re talking about the best basketball team in the nation
or protecting your food processing facility
Think about it like this: you’ve signed
up for a basketball tournament, and the
winners get free food for a year. Are you
going to show up to the tournament by
yourself ready to fight against all odds
to try to win? No. You’re going to take a
team of the most qualified players you
The same goes for your pest
management program. The “players” in
this case are all of your employees, as
they’re the most likely to spot pest issues
early. It’s imperative that they know
about your pest management program
so they can help detect and report pest
problems, which, in turn, will help you
quickly resolve issues to help protect your
products and the bottom line.
With Food Safety Modernization Act
(FSMA) regulations in full effect, you have
to play active defense to protect food
products from contamination, and a key
way to do that is through staff training and
rigorous sanitation. Being proactive is a
big part of that, and it will help ensure that
you’re audit-ready at a moment’s notice.
After all, pest management can count for
up to 20 percent of an audit score.
Chances are, you already have an
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
program. But how familiar are your
employees with the pests plaguing your
facility? Do you think they would be able
to identify a stored product pest? Or
would anybody in your facility know the
telltale signs of rodents?
Staff training will help to get everybody
on the same page, and most pest
management companies will offer
complimentary training sessions with
an ongoing contract. Before you start,
So, what’s the best way to proceed
with staff training? Follow these simple
steps, and you’ll be on the right track.
First and foremost, make sure
employees understand your IPM program
and how it works to prevent pests. If there
are monitoring devices in the facility,
employees should be made aware of what
they are and their purpose. That said,
it never hurts to walk them through all
the tactics at your facility to help them
comprehend the scale and importance of
Sanitation is a big part of preventing
pests, so make sure to emphasize the
importance of regularly cleaning equipment
and common areas. While it’s impossible
to clean up every particle of food, try to
limit the amount and access pests have
to a food source. The less there is, the
harder pests have to work for it. Any areas
where food particles or moisture collect are
attractive to pests, who are constantly in
search of food, water and shelter.
Here are a few examples of
some sanitation strategies you can
• Remove waste from bins on a daily
basis and keep lids on bins closed at
all times. Odors and organic waste will
draw pests in.
• Create a sanitation schedule for regular
cleanings. This includes daily, weekly,
monthly, and shutdown tasks to try to
address every area of the facility. While
production and storage areas should
be a high priority, don’t forget about
employee areas like break rooms and
• Don’t forget the outside of the facility.
Make sure dumpsters are emptied
regularly and not overflowing. Many
pest issues start on the outside and it’s
a short run from there to the building.
Exclusion is also important, and all
employees can assist on that as well.
Remind everyone that rodents need an
entry point the size of a dime or quarter
while insects are tiny and need just a tiny
opening to get through.
By Chelle Hartzer