Essential IPM for commercial properties

Aug 20, 2020, 08:58 AM by Fred Speer

We want to let you in on a little secret. Pests do not care about the global pandemic that is taking place right now. They continue to seek sources of food, water, and harborage inside commercial facilities, and they prefer if no one is in the office or school kitchen to bother them. It makes their job easier.

That is why it’s more important than ever for commercial property managers and owners – and facility managers at food processing, distribution, or warehousing facilities – to understand the benefits of an integrated pest management (IPM) program.

Whether your property or facility is closed temporarily, has reduced hours, or is operating as normal, pest management services are essential to protect employees, guests, property, and products.

Clark Pest Control’s James Sanchez, a commercial sales representative in the Stockton branch, shared insights on IPM and its place in today’s new business reality.

What are the risks of going without an IPM program right now?

With the shutdowns in place, many facilities have reduced the frequency of their janitorial, maintenance, and sanitation efforts, and this can contribute to a pest issue.

Imagine not having a cleaning crew regularly service a commercial kitchen? What if old product inventory such as grain or flour was left unattended in a storeroom because demand dropped? What if no one repaired torn screens on ventilation openings?

These examples highlight the risks associated with not having a comprehensive IPM program in your facility. An IPM program factors in the previously mentioned items in addition to traditional pest management services.

And for businesses that have remained open – including food processing and distribution facilities and healthcare facilities – they don’t want to run the risk of introducing or shipping pests in incoming or outgoing shipments.

What is the value of an IPM program?

The primary benefit of having an IPM program for your facility is that it can help identify a pest issue before it gets out of control. It gives facility management a trusted advisor they can consult, not only for pest control issues, but for sanitation, cultura,l and structural situations that are conducive to pests.

Sanchez explains that a well-designed and implemented IPM program grows with a facility to meet its needs now and in the future.

“The environment in a commercial business is dynamic and always changing,” he says. “The COVID crisis has changed the environment of many workplaces, reducing the number of people and activity, and leaving pests to their own, often unsavory, pursuits.”

Fewer people in a facility doesn’t mean there are fewer pests. Business owners have discovered this when they went through a reopening inspection/evaluation and found pest issues that needed attention before they welcomed customers or employees back.

Sanchez shared several examples where pests recently took advantage of their alone time inside facilities:

  • A nut processing facility experienced a problem with stored product pests in sample rooms that had not been used during the shutdown. While the warehouse portion of the facility was operating, spilled product under storage racks in the rooms hadn’t been cleaned and broken seals on the doors went unrepaired, which offered pests not only a ready food source, but an easy pathway in.
  • A winery that Clark had recently taken over servicing was experiencing a mouse issue in its offices and storage area – mice were gnawing on caps of the wine barrels. The facility, which has a river behind it and is surrounded by vineyards, is an old structure, and the previous service provider had not accounted for the structural imperfections that allowed mice to gain access, nor had it placed the devices strategically.

A comprehensive IPM program would consider all the factors that contribute to a pest issue, from device placement to the surrounding area to structural deficiencies that need to be corrected.

Why should you hire a pest service provider that uses the IPM approach?

Clients need a company that can assess and communicate the risks involved and provide detailed reports and trend analysis, can perform risk assessments, and can strive for continuous improvement of the pest management program.

Trend analysis is an extremely helpful tool in any IPM-based program. It is used to gauge what’s going on inside a facility regarding pests and when increased pest pressure is likely to occur. Clark uses this data to modify a facility’s pest program by seasonal or other factors, such as harvest or production cycles.

Sanchez says that when business owners – and property and QA managers – send out an RFP for pest management services, they need to look at the expertise of the company and what services beyond general pest control it can provide.

  • Does it offer specialty services, including bird remediation, fumigation, or disinfection services?
  • Does it have a system that consistently communicates the status of your program and offers recommendations for continual improvement?
  • And most importantly, will it take the time to understand your business and what its needs are?

If your company is looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you protect your products, employees, and customers, call or text Clark Pest Control at (800) 936-3339.

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