Know your Common Food Pests…

Your food processing facility, be it a restaurant, catering business or food manufacturing business, contains everything that common food pests love – moisture, warmth, a place to breed and nest, foot traffic and an endless supply of a variety of foods that they can consume.

But these food pests are one of your biggest enemies as they spread harmful bacteria and damage stock, while potentially ruining your profits and reputation in the event of a food poisoning or contamination incident.

While common food pests do vary according to the region of the country and type of food being processed, here are some of the biggest culprits that you need to know about.

Rodents

Rodents not only damage packaging, equipment and stored foods, but are also one of the worst contributors to disease.  Rodents carry parasites such as fleas, lice and mites, while they frequent garbage areas, spread their droppings and urine, and build extensive nesting sites which are always close to their food sources. They are capable of a rapid increase in population in a short time which means that eliminating these pests is essential.

Rodents should be controlled using traps and poison.

Flies

Flies gain entry to a facility through doors, windows and other openings and because they thrive on decaying food matter, most often spread the dangerous bacteria that attaches to their bodies from garbage disposal areas, sewage and drains.

Flies should be controlled using UV light traps and their access to your facility should be limited through the use of door and window screens.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most well-known vectors of bacteria and are particularly difficult to control as they reproduce quickly, are nocturnal and live in hard-to-reach, dark locations and are easily transported into a facility through the movement of stock. They feed on decaying matter which transmits dangerous bacteria into food production facilities and otherwise spread disease through their faeces, saliva, castings and egg cases.

Because cockroaches feed on food residues, good hygiene practices will help to prevent a food supply to them. Inspections, waste control and using targeted insecticides will help to prevent infestations.

Stored Product Insects

Stored product insects include a variety of pests that are mostly found in the pantry of a food processing facility and include weevils, moths, mites and beetles. They are found in dried food products such as grains, cereals, nuts, flours, legumes and pulses, seeds, spices and tea and an infestation not only spreads disease, but also damages food products making them unfit for human consumption. Stored product insects tend to find their way into a facility through infested stock.

Regular inspections of storage facilities and stock, as well as insecticides to control insects will help to prevent, manage and eliminate stored product insects.

Birds

Birds often nest in buildings and will do so around food sources such as waste or food storage areas where spillage may occur. The most common birds to be considered pests include seagulls, pigeons and starlings. In addition to their nesting sites which include feathers and the prevalence of fleas and mites, bird droppings also transmit dangerous viruses and pathogens.

Removing shelter and food sources will discourage birds from nesting in or near your food processing facility.

Ants

Ant infestations can damage stored food products and although they are not vectors of disease themselves, they do spread the bacteria and pathogens that attach to their bodies. Ants are able to nest in small, difficult to reach spaces which makes their control a challenge. Ants will access a facility through the smallest access point, so ensuring well sealed doors and windows is essential.

Because ants will nest close to their food source, it is vital to ensure well sealed containers and ensure any spillage of grains and sweet goods is properly cleaned. Regular inspections will help to identify infestations and baits can be used to capture and eliminate ants.

Need an Integrated Pest Management Program? Arrange a consultation with our experts.

Managing common food pests is an ongoing task for all food processing facilities and without a commercial pest control partner, this task can be unnecessarily challenging.

Our team has the experience and skills required to help you prepare and implement a fully integrated pest management program in your food processing facility. Having an expert on your side lets you focus on your core business while you can assured that the risk associated with the ongoing threat of food product pests is professionally managed.

To arrange a consultation with one of our food safety and commercial hygiene experts, ring us on 087 803 022 or send us a message today.

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