If occasional pests were just that – an occasional headache that property and facility management had to worry about – then it wouldn’t be a big deal. That’s not the case, however, for many commercial facilities, especially those involved in food processing, service, or storage/distribution.
The presence of any insect or pest in or near these facilities can lead to poor or failed audits, contaminated products, bad publicity, and lost revenue/profits.
While summer officially arrived on June 21, the weather has been summerlike for some time in California, and that is leading to increased pest pressure in and around commercial facilities.
“A warm and wet winter followed by a rapid increase in temperatures has led to greater numbers of occasional pests,” says Mark Myers, commercial sales manager for Clark Pest Control. “The numbers are much larger than we usually see this time of year.”
What exactly is an occasional invader? The term occasional invaders is a catchall term for a group of pests that invade structures from time to time, because outside weather conditions have become hostile to their survival.
In this case, it’s the sudden rise in temperatures and loss of moisture that many of these insects need to survive. What pests fall into this group?
Occasional invaders are active year-round, and will spend the majority of their time outdoors and be nothing more than a nuisance. But, as mentioned earlier, weather conditions (e.g., excessive heat, dry conditions) will motivate pests to seek shelter inside structures, and that’s where the risk lies.
Preventing problems with occasional invaders
How can property, facility, and QA managers prevent occasional invaders from becoming a problem in their facilities? Myers says eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter that attract occasional invaders is the first step to preventing any issues.
The second step is to stay on top of the facility’s cleaning and sanitation practices. Myers says facilities can have varying production schedules and need to clean processing equipment thoroughly between usage and before storing it.
“We’ve seen instances where processing equipment was put in the boneyard before it was cleaned, and it became a readily available source of food and breeding ground for a variety of pests,” says Myers. “This led to infestations occurring at non-traditional times of the year. That’s why staying on top of sanitation and cleaning protocols is essential.”
The third step in preventing occasional invaders (and other pests) from gaining access to a structure centers on performing thorough inspections of incoming shipments.
“Stopping hitchhiking pests on the loading dock before they can gain entry inside is critical,” says Myers. “Once they get inside and the threat of natural predators is eliminated, they can hunker down and become a real problem.”
Myers says two pests that have become resurgent lately are psocids and Turkestan cockroaches. Clark technicians have found the hard-to-detect psocid in the lids of 55-gallon storage drums that can be easily (and unknowingly) transported into facilities.
Turkestan cockroaches primarily live outdoors near bodies of water, in electrical meter boxes, or in cracks in concrete, but they can be found indoors when their population levels peak in the summer. They will be attracted to exterior lights and can fly into structures.
“The Turkestan cockroach is not as frequently encountered as is the German roach, but in today’s global supply chain, the chance for invasive pests being introduced into facilities is much greater,” adds Myers.
The final step for facility and property managers to be aware of when it comes to occasional invaders is making sure they stay on top of landscape management practices.
“Landscape plants and trees can be incubators for pests and need to be regularly maintained,” says Myers. “Keep grass cut, trim shrubs and trees, don’t overwater, and maintain a plant and mulch-free barrier [18 to 24 inches] around the foundation to deny pests a close-in access point to your facility.”
Four tips to remember
- Remove sources of food, water, and shelter
- Stay on top of sanitation and cleaning protocols
- Carefully inspect incoming shipments for signs of pests
- Stay on top of landscape management practices
If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you prepare your facility as pest pressures rise, call or text Clark Pest Control at (800) 936-3339.