Food First Blog | Tip of the Week: Selecting a Pest Management Pa

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Tip of the Week: Selecting a Pest Management Partner
Tip of the Week: Selecting a Pest Management Partner

Pest presence in any food environment is unacceptable. An effective integrated pest management (IPM) program will help ensure you have a safe food product. When selecting a pest control company you should be proactive to guarantee the service provider meets your company’s specific needs. That means doing your homework and asking the right questions before signing a contract and following-up regularly to ensure the program is working. Before you dive in, consider these questions.

What kinds of licenses does the company have and how long has it been licensed?

  • Is the company and its pest control applicators in good standing with the government agency overseeing licensure?
  • Have any complaints been filed against the company or its employees?

Who is doing the assessment?

  • Do they understand pest biology?
  • Are they evaluating the facility and its surroundings to determine if there is additional pressure?
  • Are they looking at building structure and condition to determine harborage areas?
  • Do they understand the products produced and the insect species associated with the product?
  • Are they looking at seasonal issues? For example, the site may be next to an agricultural field, where increased pressure may be on your facility after the harvest is complete and the external food source eliminated.

Could the site benefit from additional monitoring tools such as the use of pheromone traps?

  • What are the issues identified on the service reports and is the site taking corrective action to address these?
  • Are the corrective actions effective?
  • What is the monitoring device documentation telling you?
  • Are more or less devices needed?
  • Where are devices placed?
  • How often are devices checked, replaced, and/or removed?
  • Are there enough devices being placed to eradicate the problem?

Does the company have organic certification?

  • If yes, which organization is it certified through?
  • Do they service other organic facilities? If yes, how many?
  • How many technicians are trained to service organic facilities?
  • Do they offer training to your staff?

Ask how your pest control company stays updated on current events and changes in pest control regulations.

  • Are they affiliated with trade organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA)?
  • If they are located in Europe are they members of the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA)?
  • Do they participate in state or local associations that provide training and updates?
  • Do they receive agricultural extension bulletins?
  • Do they make use of university or other programs to enhance their skills and training?

Regardless of your company’s size, you should have an active and effective pest control program in place to ensure a safe food product free from harmful bacteria. The pest control company must be properly licensed and insured where applicable. You should carefully select your pest control provider and be certain they understand the nature of your specific business and the kinds of pests you are most likely to encounter in your facilities. Once an IPM Program is in place you should carefully manage it for effectiveness. That means meeting with your pest control service provider regularly to ensure the program is working.

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