How to Create a Winning Pest Management Program

April 14, 2020 / Media Mention / ProFood World

Pat Hottel, technical director for McCloud, contributes to ProFood World’s article “How to Create a Winning Integrated Pest Management Program”

Given consumer demands for high-quality products and stringent food safety regulations, today’s food and beverage manufacturers are more vigilant than ever about preventing pests from contaminating their products. Gone are the days of processors spraying pesticides and fumigants every few weeks and placing traps throughout the plant. Instead, they are developing and implementing integrated pest management (IPM) programs that take a proactive, comprehensive and preventive approach to keep pest infestations at bay.

According to pest management experts, IPM programs have proven to be successful because they treat pest control as an ongoing preventive process rather than reacting to pest problems as single isolated incidents. To create a customized, strategic IPM plan, pest technicians work with processors to regularly assess each plant’s unique needs and site-specific pest risks. With that information, they can develop an IPM program that uses a variety of tools to address the underlying causes of those risks for pest infestation, thereby drastically reducing or eliminating pest problems in a sustainable, long-term way.

“Ultimately to solve a pest problem, you need to get to the root cause,” according to Pat Hottel, BCE, technical director at South Elgin, Ill.-based McCloud Services. “You can address the immediate infestation and take care of the current problems, but if you don’t get to the root cause of why it happened, you risk seeing the problem occur again. When IPM is done properly, it can help you get to the root cause.”

Under Observation

Monitoring is also an integral component of a successful IPM program that focuses on prevention and sustainability. Manufacturers and their pest technicians will use various monitoring tools and techniques to help them gather and analyze pest activity data to determine trends and hotspots for early intervention. For example, they will commonly use pheromone traps and insect light traps to not only trap and kill pests, but to evaluate signs and symptoms of pest activity. Pest technicians will check these traps during their regular inspections of the facilities to figure out the source of pest activity and why those areas are vulnerable.

With data generated from traps and visual inspections from employees, pest technicians will often use propriety software to analyze the data for trends, specific pests, or other vulnerabilities that could affect future pest activity in the facility.

That strategic, preventive approach to pest control has already reaped rewards for Glanbia Performance Nutrition, which has implemented IPM programs at its two plants in Aurora, Ill., with the help of McCloud Services. The maker of nutritional and dietary supplements credits its IPM program for helping it to focus its pest control efforts where it is needed and prevent pest activity. As a result, Glanbia Performance Nutrition has reduced the number of traps it uses by 20% and decreased the amount of pest control chemicals by 75%.

“Our program is based on being proactive instead of being reactive,” says Peter Poteres, global vice president of quality assurance at Glanbia Performance Nutrition. “We work closely with McCloud Services on developing a detailed plan that minimizes equipment (traps, treatments, and bait stations), but maximizes protection. It frees up our technician to do more inspection, be proactive and look for potential causes of infestation instead of reacting to issues.”

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