Pest control for food storage warehousing – why it is so important for your business.
Food storage in warehouses is big business. If any number of pests manage to infiltrate your storage and ruin the foodstuffs there, not only is your organisation in trouble but so too are the businesses which rely on your food to stay operational. There is a lot more responsibility on warehouse owners to protect and store their foodstuffs in such a way as to prevent pest infestations, stock damage and the potential spread of disease.
There are three main kinds of commercial food storage:
- Cold or Frozen – snap frozen vegetables and other perishables, stored for longer shelf life. Industry experts believe the demand for cold and frozen storage to increase by more than 3.4% by 2020
- Dry storage – grains and other food for bulk distribution. Longer shelf life at room temperature.
- Chilled and refrigerated storage – can include liquid storage such as bulk juice and milk storage and some meat storage where freezing is not appropriate.
There are two main areas of commercial pest control when considering food storage for warehouses:
- Protecting the premises itself.
- Pest control of the food storage.
When storing food in a warehouse there are rules and regulations around making sure the building itself has a pest control regime, and these are maintained regularly. If there is an incident, and the owners of the building are found culpable, big fines may be enforced.
Not only must the building have structural prevention methods against pests, but it is required to have regular pest inspections.
Pests which can infest a warehouse include:
- Rats and Mice
- Stored Product Pests
How can you protect against these food storage pests?
Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are voracious feeders and can quickly ruin a business. They can chew through packaging, urinate and leave droppings on stored foods and they can carry diseases which can pose a significant threat to a community and be troublesome even after you eradicate the pests themselves.
Protection from Rodents
- Rodent bait control is the common method which requires a strict inspection and treatment program. Secure bait stations are placed at strategic locations to maintain control of these disease-ridden pests.
- Monitoring paths of entry is your first step. Drainage in particular is a common entry point for rat and mice. Drain covers which are secured, both inside and out is your first step.
- Keeping your facilities clean. Rats and mice have a keen sense of smell and are attracted to the detritus of food in kitchens and warehouses.
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These critters are nocturnal. If you see any roaches in the daytime this indicates that you have a major problem.
Protection from Cockroaches
- Cockroaches are attracted by food, much like rats. So cleanliness is important inside your warehouse to prevent roach infestations.
- Any chemical control you use for roaches must not be transferable to the food you store. Traps, where roaches congregate, are best- a dark place, moist places, are advisable.
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Due to their size, ants are capable of finding even the tiniest of entrances into your warehouse. And like all other pests, ants are attracted to the scent of food- sugary and starchy food in particular. So again, cleanliness is most important here. Any spills must be cleaned with more than just water. All foods must be kept in secure, air-tight containers so the scent does not attract these invasive insects.
Protection from Ants
- A barrier of control around the premise is a great way to stop some invasions from outside.
- But other methods of chemical control inside the warehouse are also available. Again, due to the nature of the premise, make sure you speak with a professional about what controls to use so you avoid contaminating your product.
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Stored Product Pests
Pests which fall under this category include the larvae of moths, a range of beetles and weevils and lice.
The beetles and weevils pose a particular threat to grain stores. They can consume your food stuffs, contaminate it, and their activity can also heat up your food stores, further damaging your product.
Moths lay their larvae on fresh food sources, such as fruits and vegetables. And the larvae consume and contaminate your food stores.
Contamination by these tiny pests can be incredibly costly.
Protection from Stored Product Pests
- It is tricky to protect a large warehouse against the tiniest of pests. A poison barrier outside can be of assistance, but a lot of these particular pests can fly.
- Moths and other insects are attracted to lights. A tip could be to install lights, and insect zappers, near windows far away from your stored food products.
- The use of pheromone traps distributed throughout the warehouse is ideal for monitoring stored product pest activity.
- Cannon Pest Management does not engage in fumigation (use of Phosphine Gas or Methyl Bromide). We do engage in thermal fogging, however. This is a safer pest control method for use inside large warehouse spaces. It is safer for the foodstuffs, and for the warehouse, you’re storing your products in.
Nesting birds can cause challenges for your warehouse pest control. While the birds themselves might not attack your produce, they can spoil packaging with droppings and there is also the risk of bird mites and other pests they bring with them.
Protection from Birds
- Netting and spikes installed where birds may nest are the best ways to prevent birds from taking up roost.
- Some bird species can be trapped and removed from the premises.
- Visual inspection of your premise, and physically removing the nests as well, are all beneficial.
- Installing strip PVC curtains across roller doors and open access points. Protecting your commercial premises from pests is a financially smart idea for your organisation in both protecting the property, the food stored within, and protecting the health of those who consume your product.
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It can be a complicated and time-consuming process, plus you need to maintain this schedule, regular check-ups, inspections and more.
Cannon Pest Management can inspect your warehouse to determine which pests are active, and produce a control program which will save you time, money and stress.
Cannon Pest Management currently works with food importihttps://www.cannonpestmanagement.com.au/files/ng sites in Melbourne. These sites have strict biosecurity controls and are subject to audits by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.