Archives - January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015

Oregon Towns Top the Sprague Top 10 Stinging Insect List




The University of Oregon’s mascot – the Oregon Duck – is a pest to visiting teams when it whips the crowd into a frenzy with its sideline antics each fall but there is a more populous pest roaming around the state of Oregon – stinging insects.

The Sprague Pest Experts recently released the Pacific Northwest/Inter-Mountain Region’s Top 10 Cities for Stinging Insects based on data collected from its field technicians and service centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Colorado, and seven of the 10 cities on the list are found within Oregon’s borders.

The state’s largest city, Portland, ranked seventh on the list but cities in the Portland metro area including North Plains, Cornelius, Sherwood, Canby and Forest Grove all earned a spot on the state’s stingiest list.

Why is Oregon a boom-state for stinging insect activity? Brian Kalbfleisch, Service Center Manager for Sprague’s Portland operation, credits the city’s climate and mandatory state recycling laws as possible reasons for the strong stinging insect pressure.

“They call Portland the City of Roses for a reason and the abundance of flowering plants in the area attracts pollinators in large numbers,” says Kalbfleisch.

Oregon’s commitment to sustainable recycling practices also contributes to a noticeable stinging insect presence. Recycling containers and dumpsters outside of grocery and convenience stores, restaurant and hospitality facilities contain liquid food waste that is a prime attractant.

“The sugary liquid residue in cans and bottles is a draw to stinging insects and this is where they can be a problem for employees and customers,” adds Kalbfleisch.

Kalbfleisch and the Sprague Pest Experts remind property managers of commercial facilities to take extra precautions to prevent stinging insects from becoming a problem in their facilities. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates 2 million Americans are allergic to stings with reactions ranging from swelling and dizziness to trouble breathing and cardiac arrest.

In addition to trash and recycling dumpster areas, stinging insects are known to congregate near food preparation and serving areas, outdoor bars, eaves and overhangs, wall voids, gutters, landscape features, outdoor furniture, and under decks.

The aggressive behavior of yellow jackets when scavenging food and garbage makes them not only a nuisance but a potential health threat to employees and customers who work or frequent outdoor spaces including loading docks, pool areas and dining areas. To give you some perspective on the threat, the Sprague Pest Experts estimate there are 1,000 stinging insects in the average nest.

How can you prevent stinging insects from becoming a nuisance or threat in your facility? The Sprague Pest Experts offer the following tips:

■ Remove the Source of the Infestation
Removing a stinging insect’s source of food, water and shelter is the first step toward preventing and eliminating these pests. Maintaining good sanitation protocols is a must and include cleaning up food and grease spills in outdoor dining and cooking areas, using tight fitting lids on garbage and recycling containers, and emptying them on a regular basis, and covering food waiting to be prepared in sealed containers.

■ Use Exclusion Techniques
Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent stinging insects from entering a structure and building nests. Make sure window, door and ventilation screens are in good repair.

■ Identify It Correctly
There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of “solitary” wasps which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets but that pose a much lower risk. Have your pest management partner make a proper identification before starting a treatment.

If you have an issue with stinging insects, send us an e-mail at We’ll be happy to get back with you with more information on how to prevent and eliminate them in your facility.

The Sprague Pest Experts


Tags: Oregon  |  stinging insects

Birds of the Feather Become a Nuisance Together




It is a fact that all commercial facilities are susceptible to nuisance bird problems. Sparrows, starlings and pigeons have become accustomed to living in and around human-occupied structures, and most commercial buildings are not designed to deter birds from establishing nesting and roosting sites.

The biggest threat posed by birds is contamination of processed food and raw ingredients from contact with their droppings or nesting materials. Birds are highly mobile and can fly from facility to facility in search of food, water and harborage, leaving their harmful droppings behind.

Problems with birds do not occur overnight and the first step is to have the Sprague Pest Experts perform a proper risk assessment of your facility. Investment in preventive exclusion measures will yield better results and cost less in the long run.

As food safety regulations become ever more prescriptive, successfully passing a third-party or government inspection is critical for food processing and agriculture clients.

Birds – like all pests - enjoy it when you make their job easier and the Sprague Pest Experts are not in the business of making life easy for marauding birds that want to gain access to your facility.

Birds can access a facility through a variety of openings and target raw ingredients, processed food, food packaging and machinery. Some of the most common entry points include:
✓ Loading dock doors
✓ Customer or employee entrances
✓ Windows or skylights
✓ Patios
✓ Ventilation systems

The Sprague Pest Experts’ will eliminate the resources birds need to establish a nest and make your facility as unattractive and unwelcome to birds as possible.

The threats nuisance birds present are evident in several ways:

■ Bird droppings can transmit hazardous diseases including salmonella, E. coli, and listeria that threaten raw and processed food.

■ Droppings can contaminate and spoil unprocessed grain and processed foods. Open air tractor trailers or rail cars waiting to unload are prime targets.

■ Bird droppings can cause slips and falls on sidewalks and steps; bird droppings can also be unknowingly introduced to a facility if employees or visitors walk through them near entranceways.

■ Nuisance bird nesting sites are a potential fire hazard especially when built in and around exterior electrical signage and ventilation openings. The nesting materials – straw, twigs, feathers and other fabric materials – can dry out and catch on fire.

■ Bird droppings, especially from pigeons, contain uric acid they are highly acidic in nature. This can lessen the life expectancy and cause damage to metal equipment, painted surfaces, marble, limestone and other building materials.

■ Flat roof buildings are susceptible to damage when bird droppings and nesting materials clog drain openings and can allow water to back up and that can lead to a roof collapse.


Tags: bird control  |  bird deterrents  |  bird exclusion  |  birds

Rodent Season Arrives Early This Year




The end of summer is rapidly approaching and for Sprague Pest Solution’s commercial clients, especially those in agriculture and food processing, that means the start of a busy harvest season and an uptick in rodent activity.

Late summer is traditionally the time of year when rodents start looking for fall and winter harborage locations. However, the dry and warm conditions the Pacific Northwest and Inter-Mountain regions have experienced in 2015 is moving that timetable up and commercial clients need to be prepared.

A rodent’s curiosity increases in the late summer and fall as they start looking for food, moisture, especially with the dry summer, and a place to nest over the winter. The key with rodents is to deny them access in the first place and take away their incentive to try and gain access to your facility.

Rodent management in and around food processing facilities is a vital part of a client’s overall food safety and pest management program. No facility or quality assurance manager wants to hear the words “food borne illness,” “contamination” or “rodent infestation.”

The negative impact to a product’s integrity and safety, brand reputation, and manufacturer’s bottom line should a rodent infestation occur is significant.

Nothing is standard when it comes to preventing and controlling rodents in a food processing or agriculture facility and that the variableness associated with rodents makes them a challenge to manage.

Comprehensive inspections on the interior and exterior, sharing regular progress reports and consistent communication between the facility and its pest management partner are the keys to properly assessing the threat level and staying one step ahead.

The Sprague Pest Experts recommends commercial clients perform a thorough inspection of the exterior of their facility to identify potential access points that rodents could exploit to their advantage.

☑ Check caulking and sealing around window and door frames and utility openings and repair when necessary.

☑ Install door sweeps on loading dock and exterior doors to keep rodents and other unwanted pests out.

☑ Check the roof for gaps or openings, especially along the roofline near gutters, and make sure heating and cooling unit vent screens are not damaged.

☑ Keep landscape shrubs and bushes trimmed and eliminate ground covering plants near structures; maintain a 12- to 18-inch barrier between the structure and plants.

☑ Thoroughly inspect incoming shipments of food commodities and other deliveries for signs of rodent activity.


Tags: rodent control  |  rodents  |  rodent  |  rodent problems  |  rodent exclusion  |  rodent management

FSMA Update: Separating Fact and Fiction




The impending roll out of the specifics for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has created more questions than answers. It has also generated a good deal of inaccurate information that is confusing to food processing industry professionals.

We visited with Tim Gallagher, Director of Strategic Accounts for Sprague Pest Solutions and 30 year food industry veteran, to set the record straight on what is fact and fiction when it comes to FSMA.

FSMA Fiction: The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has started levying fines for failed inspections and they are steep.

Fact: The FDA has not released any information on fines; they are still in the proposal phase and nothing has been finalized. Fines are currently in place for re-inspections, recalls and shut downs. Gallagher says food processing facilities should accept that changes are coming and it is recommended they research and keep an eye on the proposed rules, and determine their specific facility will be impacted, if at all.

For example, increased sanitation requirements for modes of transportation (i.e. truck, railcar, etc.) are proposed for 2016 and there will be more oversight on the quality of imported food products which is big business in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain regions.

FSMA Fiction: There is only one “authorized” pest management contractor allowed under FSMA.

Fact: There is no provision in FSMA that creates “authorized” pest management service providers. Food processing facilities are free to work with the pest management company of their choice. Gallagher recommends QA and facility managers perform their due diligence when selecting a pest management partner and look for a firm with proven experience working with GFSI and other audit schemes that can satisfy FSMA’s program and documentation requirements.

“A pest management partner reduces risk and makes the life of QA and facility managers easier,” says Gallagher. “Whether implementing a new program or solidifying an existing one, working with a proven pest professional will make a positive difference in your operation.”

Gallagher says FSMA requirements will impact food processing facilities – big and small – up and down the chain from growers to distributors. “If you transport, store or distribute food, FSMA will be part of your world,” he adds.

Sprague Pest Solutions offers food processors a wealth of experience and solutions to prepare for and manage FSMA requirements. Schedule a time for your Sprague pest management representative to implement or review your FSMA compliance.


Tags: FSMA  |  food safety modernization act  |  FDA  |  Fact vs Fiction  |  Tim Gallagher  |  Strategic Accounts  |  Food and Drug Administration

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