Monday, February 14, 2011

7 Non-chemical pest control methods

My faith in effective pest control has been renewed this week. After auditing a medium sized bakery, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not have to raise a corrective action request for any level of pest infestation. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that it was a newly constructed building with an exceptional level of cleanliness.

The presence of pests within food premises is not a given and this attitude held by many food businesses needs to change. Failure to maintain adequate pest control may result in your business being fined, prosecuted or ending up on a “Name and Shame” database.

The Law in Australia

The Food Standards Code, 3.2.2 Clause 24 - Animals and Pests, clearly states that a food business must take all practicable measures to prevent pests from entering the food premises and to also eradicate and prevent the harbourage of pests. Pests can include (but not limited to) rodents, mice, cockroaches, flies, moths, ants, birds, beetles and spiders.

German Cockroaches

A common problem faced by not only bakeries but the entire food industry is controlling German cockroaches. German Cockroaches thrive where there is warmth, food, water and harborage areas. They also breed continuously with many overlapping generations present at any one time. Considering that the life cycle of the German cockroach is around 100 days (from egg to adult)
There may be from 30 to 50 eggs in the capsule of the German cockroach, so there is the potential for up to fifty more cockroaches to be in your food business when they have hatched. In a lifetime, a female cockroach is capable of producing up to one million eggs.

This makes it difficult to manage and eradicate German Cockroaches - but it can be done using a range of non-chemical methods in addition to pest service chemical treatments. Talk to your external pest contractor about recommended durations between chemical pest control - keeping in mind the overlapping breeding cycle of German cockroaches.

7 Non-chemical pest control methods

(1) Secure food ingredients - Make sure that all food ingredients in containers have tight fitting lids in place. Ingredients in bags or cartons should be not damaged and remain intact. Store all ingredients up off the ground and rotate regularly to prevent pest harbourage points.

(2) Cleanliness - having a clean food business will eliminate food scraps, residue and smells that attract pests. Clean means you can’t see, smell or feel any dirt, dust, food residue or spills.

(3) Eliminate water - Avoiding any pooling of moisture including in sinks can assist in eliminating a pests water source. German cockroaches can survive only 12 days with food but no water. However, if only water is present with no food, cockroaches can survive for about 42 days.

(4) Prevent harbourage - Remove areas where pests can harbour. This involves removing any build up of packaging, equipment and food ingredients. Store all items up off the floor. Limit the amount of signage on walls and regularly move or check behind and in fire fighting equipment eg. fire blankets, extinguishers.

(5) Good Construction - ensuring there are good fitting windows and doors which are closed at all times will prevent pests from entering your premises. Well constructed floors, walls, ceilings and equipment should eliminate cracks and crevices in which pests can hide and harbour.

(6) Lids on garbage bins - controlling the storage of waste both inside and outside will reduce pests from being attracted to waste food smells. Making sure that external skip bins have their lids in place will reduce birds from making your business a regular visiting place.

(7) Good lighting - pests prefer darker settings and thrive when it is dark and activity is at a minimum. Make sure the business has both good natural and artificial lighting.

With any pest control and eradication program it is essential to have a good reporting process in place. You can be certain that if you see one pest there will be plenty more that you don’t see. A pest sightings register can help your business log pest activity and then take appropriate action.

You can get your free “Pest Activity Log” during the month of February by visiting

1 comment:

  1. Garbage attracts rat, this is the reason why we should be responsible enough to clean our environment.