5 Steps to Build an Integrated Pest Management Plan at Your Facility

Mosquitoes

Roaches, mice, mosquitoes and lice – all the things that make you go “ick.” Even for the toughest, most experienced, most been-there-done-that facility manager, dealing with pests is an annoyance and a hassle pretty much anyone would want to avoid. Fortunately, with a little planning and a little organization, you can develop an integrated pest management (IPM) plan at your facility and implement it with ease.

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty on keeping those pests at bay, let’s first look at why it’s so important to manage a facility’s rodent, insect, and critter population.

Mice, Rats and Rodents: Mice and other rodents are found in most facilities, and while they’re generally  harmless to people, they can carry in ticks, mites and other pests and cause significant damage to property and buildings. If you manage a facility with a kitchen or food prep or production area, rodents create a risk for salmonella contamination through their feces, and they can carry a number of dangerous viruses.

Mosquitoes: One of the most annoying pests, mosquitoes cause allergic reactions in their victims around the bite site, and they carry a number of potentially deadly diseases. While most mosquito bites are nothing more than irritating, the spectrum of allergic reaction varies widely, and the possibility of catching a virus is a valid fear. The Zika virus has currently been making headlines, and while it hasn’t been shown to be transmitted by mosquitos in the US, it certainly has made the public far more aware of mosquitoes and the dangers they may pose.

Roaches: Aside from giving most people the heebie-jeebies, roaches also carry a significant amount of bacteria that can spread illness. In addition, medical studies have shown that cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions in some people, leading to asthma attacks. And, they multiply in frightening proportions, overwhelming a facility when not controlled.

Lice: Most common in school settings or any facility where children are in close contact, lice spread like wildfire, and an outbreak can cause serious disruption to the flow of your facility. Lice are typically carried in on other pests, cause serious itching, and especially among groups of kids, can carry a negative social stigma.

Termites: Termites don’t pose much risk to people, but they can wreak major havoc on facility structures, and can lead to loss of productivity and significant property damage if left unchecked.

Stinging Insects: A wasp or hornet nest can be difficult to eliminate, and the insects pose a real hazard to those who suffer allergic reactions. A single bee or wasp sting may be enough to send the highly allergic into anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal if help is not received in time.

Why IPM Matters

Integrated pest management is a holistic approach to handling your facility’s pest situation. Whether you’re dealing with a few rodent-sightings or a full-blown infestation, any facility can benefit from IPM, and the right plan can save time, save money, and even save lives.

IPM combines traditional pest control methods, like chemical treatments, with an extensive prevention plan, and a comprehensive and collaborative effort involving different departments within your facility. This approach addresses not just the pests, but also helps keep infestations from starting, and helps protects employees, guests, students or customers.

How to Create Your IPM Strategy

1. Prevent

You know what they say about an ounce of prevention, and in this case, it’s true. Preventing an infestation is far easier than dealing with one once the pests have made themselves at home. Develop a strategy that utilizes the different departments in your facility to ensure pest problems are dealt with before they can turn into pest nightmares. Talk with the maintenance staff and work out a system of monitoring and reporting any pest sightings, and put together a cleaning plan that will keep pests at bay.

Proper cleaning practices can’t stop every pest, but it’s the single most important step and can go a long way toward keeping them at a minimum, especially in food prep or handling areas. Additionally, make sure that landscaping is properly maintained and that the facility is free from holes or cracks that may serve as access points. Do not allow trash to accumulate or have discarded food readily accessible, or you will certainly have small problems that can turn into major ones.

2. Plan

Don’t wait until it’s too late to keep an infestation from happening. Know what you’ll do if a pest problem develops, and have a workflow for your staff so they’re ready to handle any situation. Put together an action plan and practice putting it into effect. This may include emergency cleaning and hygiene procedures, clearing the facility, working with a trusted pest management company, and being prepared to handle any damages or injuries that may result. Have experts at the ready for every situation, and make sure your staff knows who to call and when.

3. Prep

Gather the supplies you’ll need to deal with any pest situation, make sure your staff knows how to use them, and keep them in an appropriate and easy-to-access area. This pest prep kit can include everything from rodent traps like these, to insect repellent and sting swabs, to chemical insecticide. Make sure to keep a list of numbers handy for local pest experts, as well as contacts for emergency services and basic first aid information.

4. Pesticides

Many companies strive to avoid as many chemicals and stay as sustainable as possible, but there are times when a chemical response is the only way to keep the facility and the people within it safe and protected. There are a number of pesticides to choose from that will help you deal with minor or moderate pest problems. However, if you have a true infestation, you may need to contact a professional to help you deal.

5. Process

In the wake of an infestation, conduct a follow-up session with your staff and any other employees who are part of your IPM plan. Gather information on what caused the infestation, what the response was, what methods worked and what didn’t, and a list of any chemical or organic treatments used and their impact. Keep notes on employees or customers who reported problems, and be sure to follow up with them to address their concerns. Look at ways the situation could have been handled more efficiently, and put together a strategy for streamlining the process the next time pests become a problem.

An IPM plan can have a huge impact on your facility, and we can help you put together a list of must-have products. Contact us for recommendations on pest control products.

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