October 20, 2010
by BILL MELVILLE
Finding one fly in your packaging facility might not be a reason to sound the alarms, but finding one rodent should undoubtedly make heads turn.
In a packaging plant, one pest can make its way into one packaged product and then to on to the customer and even the consumer. It takes just one bad customer experience to do irreparable damage to your plant’s reputation through widespread negative media coverage and the resulting customer mistrust.
But pests don’t even have to appear in your packaging to cause concern. An infestation in your facility can pose a major health threat, as pests can spread disease to your employees and your products.
Like with any other type of emergency, it is critical to have a sound plan in place after a pest sighting. Here are the three basic steps that should be the key pillars of any such plan:
• Confine and Assess the Situation: There are a few indicators that suggest the presence of pests: droppings, cast skins that pests shed off, and live or dead pests. Upon discovery of any such signs inside your facility, close off the area where the sighting occurred.
More often than not, one pest can suggest that there are many more in your facility, so whether you find evidence in the break-room, on the main floor or in employee lockers, consider restricting access to the area until you can identify the pest in question and determine how it entered the building.
Inspect any products in the immediate area for signs of infestation, including gnaw marks from rodents and droppings from rodents or cockroaches. Dispose of any damaged product you find and remove it from the building, and only allow a licensed pest management professional to address the pest issue.
• Partner with your Pest Management Professional: A licensed pest management professional trained in pest biology and behavior can identify the pest, which will then determine the best approach for treatment. A professional can also help to locate where the pest entered your building. The main reasons pests find their way inside—food, water, shelter and optimal temperatures—can all be found in your facility.
When the pest management professionals arrives, be ready to partner with them on next steps. Once the situation is under control, ask your pest control technician to meet with your staff to discuss proactive measures to prevent a problem from reoccurring.