The Value of Inspections and Risk Assessments

Oct 29, 2021, 14:37 PM by Fred Speer

Never stop improving. That should be the motto of every commercial property owner and QA manager when it comes to their pest management programs. Continuous improvement is always the standard to be met.

Where does continuous improvement start? With comprehensive and regular inspections and a quarterly risk assessment of your property or facility with your pest management service provider. You can add in your maintenance, cleaning, sanitation or QA teams to the inspection invite list as well.

“Clients should be evaluating their current program this time of year and see if there’s room for improvements,” said Frank Giannico, commercial sales manager for Clark Pest Control. “Inspections and risk assessments are the first step.”

The advantage of conducting regular inspections and risk assessments is that it gives clients a second set of eyes to look for signs of pest activity of conducive conditions.

Giannico said it’s natural for facility staff to get accustomed to seeing their property through the same lens, but not the way it is when it comes to conditions conducive to pests.

“It’s amazing what Clark inspectors and technicians find on the roofs, in the boneyards, and in storage areas,” he added.

A pest management professional gives clients not only outside perspective but expertise they can draw on.

The damage pests can do to a commercial property’s products, reputation and bottom line cannot be simply dismissed as the cost of doing business. Add to that the threat to the well-being of employees, customers and guests, and you get the picture.


No News Isn’t Always Good News

Having a clean pest management report following a service is a good thing but no news isn’t always good news.

Giannico shared an instance where Clark Pest Control was onboarding a new client – a large food processing plant – that had an issue with Turkestan cockroaches inside the facility.

Since Turkestan roaches are found on the exterior, Clark reviewed the previous pest logs and service reports but found no comments or observations as to why the cockroaches were inside or how they were getting in.

“Employees had been telling management they spotted the roaches in multiple areas including the boiler room, packaging room and on the exterior,” said Giannico,

When Clark did the initial inspection, they came across an exterior rodent bait station. When they open the station three or four Turkestan roaches scampered out and went underneath patio brick that the station was secured to. They checked the service report but there was no record of cockroach activity at that station or in the general area even though there were also cracks in the cement foundation and walkways – another common Turkestan roach hiding location.

“The cockroaches had clearly been there for some time, and this should have been noted by the technician in their report,” said Giannico.

Cockroaches were also found inside the insulation that covered pipes indoors – the plant has both wet and dry processing areas, and extensive storage areas for spices and other raw goods that are brought in by rail and truck.

The inspection also revealed deteriorating door sweeps that would easily allow the cockroaches, as well as a variety of other pests, with easy access to in the interior of the building. Again, there was no mention of this in the report.

An additional condition that factored into the equation was that because of the products produced inside the plant had many pest-attracting pheromones inside that served as an attractant to a variety of pests including rodents, stored products pests and flies.

“Due to the large physical footprint of the facility, there were many potential physical access points for pests and other conditions conducive to pests that needed to be inspected regularly,” said Giannico.

The takeaway from this scenario is that ‘no news isn’t always good news.” Nothing was included in the previous service reports that would indicate there was a cockroach issue.

An observant technician conducting a thorough inspection needs to document any signs of pest activity or conditions (i.e., the deteriorating door sweeps) conducive to allowing pest gain entry or that would attract them.

What Is A Risk Assessment?

Having a risk assessment done is the first step in developing an IPM program, and when done regularly and properly, it will continuously improve a plant’s existing pest management programs. It is a proactive vs. reactive approach to safeguarding your facility and its contents from harmful pests.

With cooler weather on the horizon, pest activity increases both outside and inside structures. Pests are trying to get in where it’s warmer. Occasional invaders, rodents, ants, cockroaches, etc., will look to find a way in to survive the winter.

Historical trends tend show an increase in rodent activity in October and November, and risk assessments help evaluate the risks and adjust a client’s IPM program to be proactive with the projected increase in rodent activity.

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 period.

Risk assessments will help identify why was a pest was present and the root cause of the problem. The information provided in a risk assessment can be used to help adjust and improve existing pest programs.

Because a lot can happen in a few months, including changes in weather, pest cycles, etc., Clark prefers to assess the program quarterly. The more you evaluate the trends in pest activity and assess the program, the more changes you can make to improve the program.

Clark Commercial – The Choice for Business Owners

Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your business or commercial property from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

If your commercial property demands innovative pest management solutions and a pest management partner that understands your business, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.