Small pests such as wasps can be just as problematic as big pests like possums. Pests are pests because they breed rapidly, carry germs around, are difficult to eradicate, and are generally annoying! So, on this page we’re giving you a few tips to keep those pesky pests at bay.
You don't just have to prevent microscopic 'bugs' but big ugly ones too. Pests are pests because they breed rapidly and are a problem in large numbers, because they are vehicles of contamination - they carry germs around on their bodies, and because they can be difficult to eradicate or keep out. But in the food industry it is essential that you control pests as they can be a real danger to your business. Some will just be a physical contaminant but others carry diseases harmful to humans. Either way the presence of pests shows that premises maintenance and cleaning are not up to the required standard.
You need to know how to recognise their presence, why they are hazardous, how to control them and how to control the controls.
Deny access to pests. It is much easier to prevent them getting in that it is to get them out again. Seal holes in walls and joinery, screen windows and doors, have self closing doors, ventilate the premise with a cool air flow, keep ingredients in well sealed containers that cannot be eaten and cover drain pies and roof vent openings with a fine mesh.
Be alert to signs of intruders. Inspect regularly to infestation of pests and effectiveness of control measures.
Don't provide food and harbourage. Ensure no dripping taps or pools of water are available. Ensure all foods are inaccessible, including refuse and pet food. Ensure no accumulation of yard materials as bedding or dens, keep woodpiles tightly stacked. Ensure rubbish is disposed of tidily and frequently, including the fat bin where used fat is collected for removal. Ensure stock is rotated and kept to a minimal in storage. Keep the premise clean, greasy or sticky walls provide a great source of food for cockroaches.
Make suitable arrangement for prompt destruction by a trained person when pests are noted. This may include neighbouring properties and may involve leaving the premises while fumes subside. Ensure any other pets, plants, fabrics etc that may need protection are also considered in the case of big time fumigation.
If you use pest control chemicals yourselves, ensure you read the instructions and take all possible precautions, these things are toxic to us too. The only difference is it takes more to harm us because we are bigger. Be aware of the need for special gear to prevent accidental swallowing, inhalation or skin absorption of the poison and also be particularly careful of storage. Never leave poisons in an unmarked or otherwise marked container.
Sometimes, after pest control in the food preparation area you may need to do extra cleaning to remove any chemical residue form high risk surfaces. Ensure a good communication channel between staff so that every one knows when pest control contractors are due or have been in to prevent the control becoming a hazard of its own.
The presence of rodents is most often noted by their droppings rather than actual sighting as they are nocturnal. Damage caused by the gnawing of rodents may also be seen, either on structures or food containers themselves. Rats tend to develop specific pathways and may leave behind greasy rub marks along the walls against which they travel. Sometimes their odours may be detected.
Rats will have 3 - 5 litters of 7 - 8 young per year. Mice can have about 6 litters of around 10 young per year. These young will of course breed quickly themselves.
Rodents are hazardous both because of damage they cause and they are excellent vehicle of infection. They breed prolifically, they are very clever, have no fear and cover a fairly large territory. They spoil far more than they eat simply because they live in such unhygienic environments. For example; rats often use our sewers as travel routes from one place to another. They contaminate foods and surfaces simply by touching them and are known to harbour numerous bacteria harmful to humans.
Traps can be used to catch them but poisoning works better as it exposes more rodents at a time. The most commonly used poisons are warfarin based, which kills by causing internal bleeding. This usually means the rodents go back to their lairs and die without the need for you to dispose of them.
Poison must be laid so that it cannot be accessed by any other creature. Inspect the bait station for chew marks and continue to replace the poison until it hasn't been touched for a week. Vigilance is required for repeat infestations. The poison is best secured into the bait station in some way so that it can be easily monitored for evidence of taking.
Birds can also be pests in some places, especially those with an open layout. Entry should be prevented, but if this isn't practical, try to remove 'perchable' surfaces and ensure foods are protected by a non-peckable cover. This is especially important for any foods displayed outside your store. Extra cleaning may be required if birds are able to defecate inside or on display surfaces.
Wild birds are part of nature and do not come under the jurisdiction of the Council. The Council has no responsibility unless they are soiling Council buildings and property.
Pigeons that are not owned and cannot be built/netted out of their roosting position and are causing a real nuisance contact a pest control firm listed in the Yellow Pages that specialises in bird proofing or bird control.
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