Risk Assessments and Trend Analysis:What Story Is It Telling You?

Feb 5, 2024, 10:00 AM by Fred Speer

Risk assessments and trend analysis in pest control provide valuable insights into potential threats and patterns related to pest infestations. They tell the story of what is going on inside your commercial property when it comes to pest activity.

Risk assessments help identify the likelihood of pest problems occurring in a particular area of a commercial property. Factors such as climate, surrounding area, and the presence of conducive conditions (i.e., sanitation protocols, structural conditions, employee actions, etc.) for pests are evaluated to determine the level of risk. This information allows for proactive measures to be taken to prevent or mitigate pest issues before they escalate.

Trend analysis, on the other hand, involves examining historical data to identify patterns and recurring pest problems. This helps in understanding the seasonal variations, population cycles, and other trends related to pest activity. By recognizing these patterns, pest control professionals can develop more effective and targeted strategies for pest management.

Together, risk assessments and trend analysis contribute to a comprehensive pest control strategy, allowing for a more proactive and efficient approach to pest prevention and management.

Risk Assessments

Having a risk assessment performed at your facility is the first step in developing an IPM program, and when done regularly and properly, it will continuously improve existing pest management programs.

In food processing facilities, FSMA requirements place significant emphasis on having a science-based risk assessment be performed. Third-party audit standards can require that risk assessments be performed annually and anytime there is a change made in a facility’s pest management program.

What is involved in a risk assessment? Defined as “the scientific evaluation of known or potential adverse health effects resulting from human exposure to foodborne hazards" a risk assessment is a task meant to evaluate and assess a facility’s IPM program.

A true risk assessment is NOT just an inventory of control and monitoring devices within a facility or a means to report how many rodents or insects were caught or killed in that time.

Risk assessments will help answer the following questions:

  • Why was the pest present?
  • Why did the pest issue occur?
  • What was the root cause of the problem?

The information provided in a risk assessment can be used to help adjust and improve existing pest programs.

Risk assessments should be conducted by your pest management service provider with input from plant management since both share the responsibility to create and maintain a pest-free environment and safeguard the food products that are produced or stored at the facility.

Elements of a risk assessment can include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Audit preparation
  • Monitoring
  • Control measures
  • Corrective actions
  • Documentation

Trend Analysis

One of the most beneficial tools used to help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a pest management program is trend analysis.

Trend analysis is the collection of information to identify pest behavior and patterns to predict future pest activity and take action to prevent it. It will verify the success of ongoing pest programs, while the IPM risk assessments will validate it. However, without accurate data, trend analysis is useless.

Questions that need to be asked when performing a trend analysis include:

  • Is the data being collected accurately and being interpreted correctly?
  • Is the pest control technician identifying the root-cause for the pest infestation?
  • Are technicians noting the conductive conditions and developing a preventive corrective action/plan or are they just noting ‘caught mouse’ and moving on to the next trap?

Pest management service providers and their clients need to make sure pest management programs – no matter the size and scope – include regular risk assessments and trend analysis.

Clark Pest Control – Commercial Pest Solution Experts

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help your company create an effective year-around pest management program, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.