Spring Pest Proofing Tips for Food Facilities

Spring Pest-Proofing Tips for Food Facilities

Springtime is an especially busy time for pest-related activity which is why Food facilities should take proactive pest proofing steps as pests emerge from their overwintering spots. Following these simple prevention steps will make a significant difference in staving off infestations during the warmer months.

There are three main factors that will contribute to pest activity outside; easy access to food, water and shelter.  It is important to limit these factors as much as possible and reduce the general attraction of the structure to pests.

Ways to Minimize Water:

  • Use drip irrigation versus automated sprinkler systems for turf and ornamentals.
  • Make sure that the ground around the structure properly drains. Use of drainage tiles can help reduce standing water near the foundation.  In addition, make sure that the ground slopes away from the building to draw the water away from the building.
  • Properly direct water collected off the roof away from the structure using gutters and downspouts to move water away and not allow it to puddle or erode soil.
  • Fix any leaking faucets or other exterior water pipes.
  • Keep roofs and paved areas in good condition to avoid potholes, and depressions which collect water.
  • Use gravel (1” or larger rock size and 6” deep and 18”-24” wide) versus mulch around the building perimeter.  Common soil covers like wood mulch retains moisture and attracts a wide variety of moisture dependent insects and insect related arthropods such as sow bugs, millipedes, psocids and springtails.

Ways to Minimize Food:

  •  Keep dumpster/compactor areas cleaned and lids closed on free standing dumpster carts.
  • Clean up spillage promptly.
  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs which might produce fruit or nuts and provide food for vertebrate and insect pests.  Even flowering plants can attract a wide variety of insects, including bees and wasps.  Trees located close to the structure can attract birds which may then enter the building.
  • Keep tree branches trimmed away from the building and not touching the structure.  This will help reduce pathways for pests like ants and rodents into the structure.
  • Properly maintain exterior employee break areas.  Keep them free from spillage and food containers.
  • Use trash receptacles with self-closing lids to exclude foraging pests.  Open trash receptacles allow active foraging.

Ways to Minimize Shelter and Exclude Pests:

  • Seal cracks and crevices which can harbor insects and may also lead into the structure.  Use a sealant that is designed for exterior use and suitable for the surfaces applied.
  • Use screens to exclude pests from vents and windows that are opened for ventilation purposes.
  • Ground covers and low growing plants can encourage pest activity and provide shelter.  Use plants which are more “V” shaped so that as much of the soil is exposed for inspection as possible.
  • Keep doors closed when not in use and consider automatic timers and other devices to help insure that doors close.