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?
As the temperatures cool and days grow shorter, your facility is going to experience greater pressure from the outside from rodents, insects seeking to overwinter, and occasional invaders merely following a temperature gradient upstream (into the warmth of your facility). Cold weather brings opportunities as well, to prepare for and bring about a strong start on the warm seasons. The following are a few, big-picture items that will help:
1. Rigorously assess your facility for openings. These will ‘bleed’ temperature, and allow pests to sense the temperature gradient and enter via the offending opening. Seal it up! Your utility bill will lower, and you’ll have fewer pests. A few dollars of the right sealant can save tens of thousands on the back-end.
2. Use the appropriate patch, seal, or sealant! Foam just won’t do as a long lasting approach.
3. Consider adjusting placement of your pest managing devices to meet the changing need, or adding equipment to certain areas. For example, sprinkler pump rooms are often kept warmer, and as a result usually experience more intense rodent pressure during cold months — get ahead of this by installing more equipment here during late Fall, Winter, and into early Spring.
4. If your warehouse space is cool (55 degrees F or lower), insect development will be greatly slowed. This is a great time to attempt to disrupt population cycles of stored product pests (inspect, discard or fumigate infested items), so you have little or no activity when it warms up. If Indian Meal Moths are a concern, install a mating disruptor OR pheromone monitoring grid before it warms up; both have their own virtues. Mating disruptors are fast becoming a proven and effective tool for Indian Meal Moths in food processing and warehousing settings. Pheromone monitoring grids reduce males in the population, provide locational clues regarding infestations, and more and more may even be used to demonstrate due diligence to downstream clients.
By John Kane, Technical Specialist at Western Pest Services