Preventing Pest Infestations in Warehouses
Effective pest management is a major priority for the warehouse and shipping industry. Because large inventories are often stored together and may come from multiple warehouses or distribution centers, pest pressure runs high. There are many steps warehouses can take to reduce pest problems. Routine inspections of incoming and outgoing products will allow issues to be identified early as part of a Supplier Verification Program, helping to prevent contaminated products from infesting other goods stored. When infested products are identified, there should be a protocol in place to quarantine infested items, stop shipment immediately, investigate the infestation and take action to eliminate pests and prevent pests from spreading. Here we break down the common pests you may encounter in warehouses and the best pest solutions for maintaining a pest-free environment.
Understanding the type of pests affecting your warehouse facility will depend on the products being handled, packaged and stored. Below are some of the most common pests you should be prepared to handle.
Along with their ability to fit through gaps as small as ¼”, rodents will chew on just about anything. To detect rodents, look for darkened grease marks on containers or along walls. Look for any visible gnaw marks as well as droppings.
They can enter your facility through shipments on boxes or cardboard containers. Additionally, they can enter from colonies in sewage lines or crawl spaces below ground. Once they are in your facility, their cryptic life style allows them to hide efficiently.
Ants are one of the most common structural invaders, and ant sightings indicate a larger infestation. Ants are usually located in window frames and inner walls or under hidden places, such as floors and appliances.
Stored Product Pests
Stored Product Pests include beetles and moths that often feed on stored goods, grains, and animal based fabrics. These pests will damage goods that are stored and transported by feeding on the products. Damage to boxes and containers are the most common visual sign of their presence.
Spiders are found in subfloor air vents, upper corners of rooms and other dark areas of your facility. They normally enter through open, poorly screened windows and doors, through cracks and gaps around door and window frames.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the protective measures that can be taken and how to incorporate them as functional parts of your overall IPM program.
Keep pests outside – Understand that pests need very little space to get into your building, so sealing holes and cracks can stop pests from entering different areas of your facility. Having the facilities maintenance staff conduct routine inspections for gaps, and repairing those found, is a great preventative measure.
Inspect incoming shipments – Don’t bring a pallet of goods directly from the transport vehicle into storage areas. Instead, break it down in the loading dock and have someone well trained to inspect inbound loads as part of a Supplier Verification program. Check for signs of damage, especially for holes that can be caused by boring pests.
Create a sanitation schedule – Keeping a facility clean will go a long way in eliminating food attractants for pests. Clean product spill immediately and sweep, vacuum and wipe down everything in work areas and shipping/receiving docks.
Use monitoring devices – Rodent traps, bait stations and pheromone traps are all effective options to detect and eliminate pests. This information can be used to address any potential problems early; and the earlier action is taken, the easier it is to solve pest problems. This can also be used to verify that pest prevention tactics are working effectively.
Work to instill these preventative practices and work closely with a pest professional to ensure your facility is safeguarded against pests.
A Pest Management Professional (PMP) can help implement a comprehensive plan devised specifically for your building. Your PMP can help you design your Sanitation, Supplier Verification, and Facility Inspection program as well as help train your staff on your pest prevention program. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a pest management provider, as it could be one of the best decisions you make to protect the quality of your products, your facility and ultimately your business.
By: Shannon Sked, BCE, SQF, Western Pest Services