Under pressure to deny access to pests

April 1, 2019


If you were a fan of the Academy Award-nominated movie Bohemian Rhapsody, based on the epic career of the rock band Queen, the song “Under Pressure” should be quite familiar.

What, in the name of Freddie Mercury, does this have to do with pest management, you may ask? Under pressure is what commercial facilities – especially ones involved with food processing and distribution – may be facing as spring arrives and pest pressure rises.

California’s unusually wet winter, with record amounts of rain and snow, has created favorable conditions for a variety of pests that need moisture to survive. And while overwintering pests are busy breeding in the wet soil, that moisture will soon give way to warmer, drier conditions.

When this takes place, pests – rodents, ants, house flies, and various occasional invaders like crickets, earwigs, and silverfish – will likely emerge in large numbers and begin foraging in search of new sources of food, water, and shelter. One of the first places they will look to invade is your plant or warehouse.

Where is the pest pressure in commercial facilities the greatest so far in 2019? A review of year-to-date pest trend data collected by Clark revealed the following:

Rodents

The locations with the most activity on both the interior and exterior of commercial accounts were found in northern California – Yuba City and Chico – and the central coast city of Santa Maria.

All three feature facilities that process large volumes of raw commodities – rice, coffee, and tree nuts – which rodents are attracted to. And while activity so far in 2019 is strong, it’s down from a year ago, primarily due to the abundance of natural food and shelter sources (e.g., vegetation, excess moisture) in these more rural areas.

Occasional invaders

When it came to occasional invaders such as earwigs, house flies, and silverfish, facilities in and around Livermore, Merced, and Milpitas registered the most activity. Livermore and Milpitas feature dense clusters of commercial facilities embedded in highly populated urban environments, with high amounts of exterior lighting – an attractant for occasional invaders.

Stored product pests

Chico-area commercial facilities tallied the highest amount of stored product pest activity, and this can be attributed to the nature of the food processing activity – large volumes of raw commodities – in the area.

How can commercial clients safeguard their facilities from the looming rise in pest pressure?

Jeremy Kluge, commercial sales manager for Clark in Auburn, California, says that a proactive and systematic but adaptable approach is required.

“We are working with clients,” says Kluge, “to ensure their sanitation and exclusion practices are in place and working, [that] they are practicing sound inventory management [first in, first out], and [we are] stressing the importance of incoming shipment inspections. We are also talking with them about exclusion to build an effective barrier to keep pests out.”

Clark is also studying pest trend data to see where and when pest activity in taking place, and what has happened in the past.

“The use of trend data has changed the way we approach designing and implementing pest programs for clients,” says Kluge.

The focus has shifted from being reactionary to proactive, identifying the root cause (e.g., poor sanitation, cultural issues) of a pest issue and adjusting the program to attack the problem and prevent it from happening again.

The spring commercial client preparedness checklist

  • Perform a thorough exterior inspection of your facility – including the roof – with your maintenance staff and pest management service provider to identify areas where structural repairs and exclusion practices need to be performed.
  • Clean out and make sure dumpsters have lids that close tightly to deny pests an easy meal or harborage location.
  • Maintain good landscape management practices to eliminate pest nesting sites and food sources.
  • Take corrective actions before pest populations emerge in large numbers and become harder to control.

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 Clark Pest Control at (800) 936-3339.