This article originally appeared in Food Manufacturing's January/February 2015 print issue.
The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the overall food industry marketplace.
In part one of this three-part series, we ask: What are some steps food manufacturers should be taking during the winter months in order to get a head start on warm-weather pest prevention?
One item that food manufacturers often complete during the winter months is budgeting. So, to start, there may be structural repairs or improvements which should be budgeted for the next fiscal year. Pest management documentation, corrective action reports and annual assessments can help with the process of determining what conducive conditions are present and what actions need budgetary consideration.
One of the most common areas of remediation are the exterior doors, especially dock doors. Repairs to doors can help from an energy conservation standpoint and pest prevention. For heated structures, it can be very timely to make these repairs before or during the winter. There are a variety of door sweeps including brushes and rubber sleeved stainless steel mesh door seals that can be installed. Making sure that the base of a door is properly sealed can be helpful in excluding rodents and insects. Dock plates should also be properly sealed around the dock plate/floor frame junctures as well. Other dock door issues can include the need for self closing timers or remote control closures to assist with plant staff in keeping doors closed when not in use. Rapid roll up doors may be desired around the dock to add another layer of defense. Lastly, the seals or bumpers around the exterior of dock doors should be inspected to make sure that they are intact and in good repair. These seals are essential in preventing pest entry when doors are open for truck loading.
In the spring, it is the time to pest-proof the areas where overwintering pests like cluster flies, brown marmorated stink bugs, box elder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles have used to access structures to be sealed. It is essential to wait until the overwintering insects have left the structure before sealing since they will use the same openings to exit the structure. Pest proofing for cluster flies and box elder bugs can occur as early as March.
Patricia Hottel is the Technical Director at McCloud Services