Identifying the right IPM partner

Feb 25, 2020, 12:11 PM by Fred Speer

All commercial facilities face the unpleasant prospect of pests gaining access to threaten food and the people inside, whether you’re talking about a multi-acre food processing plant, a local restaurant or grocery store, or a healthcare facility or office building.


The need for innovative and dependable commercial pest management services is constant among commercial facilities. Customers demand a pest-free environment to work, shop, or stay in, and they prefer food untainted by pests like rodents, flies, and cockroaches. So do local, state and federal inspectors, and independent third-party auditors. Everyone wants to see a pest-free facility.


The damage that pests can do to a company’s products, reputation, and bottom line cannot be simply dismissed as the cost of doing business. Think of the recent spate of food recalls and the lightning speed at which social media and the 24/7 news cycle covered these events. There was no hiding for the brands involved.


In addition to damage to reputation and brand, there was the very real public health threat that contaminated food could transmit life-threatening bacteria. including E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella.


Professional pest management in commercial facilities – especially those that process, store, distribute, sell, or serve food – plays a vital role in helping avert potential pest-based threats.


Selecting a pest management service provider that’s going to be your partner in designing and implementing a successful pest prevention and food safety program is an important process.


What should you look for in a pest management provider?

“Look for a company that does more than check devices and sends you a service report,” says Travis Mickel, manager for Clark Pest Control in Auburn, CA. “Do they perform true integrated pest management (IPM) services and approach pest programs holistically?”

Mickel encourages commercial property and facility managers to evaluate pest management service partners using the following criteria:


  • Do they have an investigative mindset? Will the company’s technicians and inspectors look more deeply for the root cause of a pest infestation to resolve the issue, or just install more traps or apply more product? How well do they know your business or industry and the specific pest management and food safety requirements that it requires?
  • Are their service protocols based on IPM principles? Ask for a sample pest management program for a similar facility and check to see if it is truly IPM-based. What does it include? Is it innovative? Is the goal to reduce the environmental footprint of any service?
  • Do they have audit experience? Successful passage of third-party audits is non-negotiable for food processors. What is the company’s experience working with various certification bodies, and do their clients routinely pass audits? Do they have experience working in organic-certified facilities or clean-room environments?
  • Do they have a documentation management system? If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. Accurate recordkeeping is a critical component in the FSMA-era of food safety, and pest management companies play a key role in the process. What systems do they have to manage documents? Is the system on a digital platform? How is it shared, and is it easily accessible?
  • Do they embrace technology and data analysis? Are they adopters of technology such as remote monitoring, video, and other technology? How do they collect, share, and analyze data for your facility’s benefit? What types of reporting and analysis do they provide?
  • Is communication a priority? Do they engage you and your staff during the service process and ask questions? Do you they offer training for your staff, and do they list their expectations of your staff?


In addition to the above search criteria, commercial clients should also keep the following in mind when vetting possible pest management service providers:

  • A qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national or state pest management associations
  • Ask for references and to see a list of current clients; make sure the company and service personnel have experience working in commercial facilities.
  • Buy value, not on price.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and what work is necessary to solve the problem.
  • Find out if the company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your facility or products.
  • If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary on your part and theirs.

If you are 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.