Best Practices Spotlight – Pest Management in Specialized Facilities (Part 1)

Summer time is get outdoors time and thousands of people flock to outdoor entertainment and recreation venues to hear music, watch a baseball or soccer game or stroll the midway at a state or country fair.

There is, however, another group of outdoor enthusiasts that frequent these outdoor venues that present a potential threat to food and people. These “enthusiasts” include rodents, cockroaches, and the two most commonly encountered threats – flies and stinging insects including yellowjackets, wasps and honey bees.

Managing pests in outdoor venues requires special considerations because these settings often don’t have walls, doors and windows to keep pests out. These facilities are attractive to pests due to the abundance of readily available food sources featuring lots of sweet, sugary or fatty foods – all out in the open – as well as the ensuing garbage (including animal manure) that is produced. 

Fairs and festivals are often of limited duration, so the problem is not established populations of cockroaches or mice as in other types of accounts; instead, you will deal with pests that come in on the fly, eat and run, but cause a decent amount of trouble in the process. 

Event organizers, in the interest of favorable publicity and passing local health department inspections, will want to minimize bee and wasp stings, and make sure house flies don’t spread illness.

What can outdoor entertainment venue managers do to reduce the risk from pests? The Sprague Pest Experts recommend a pest management/food safety plan focused on communication and education.

Make sure food preparation and serving staff and facility maintenance personnel know the important role they play in minimizing the attractiveness of their outlets to wasps, bees and flies, and protecting public health. 

To prevent pest threats in outdoor entertainment venues, the following pest prevention strategies should be implemented:

•    Keep all work surfaces clean

•    Remove trash often, and wash and rinse trash containers daily during the outdoor event

•    Keep food covered except when serving

•    Clean up any spills as soon as they occur

•    Keep grease barrels covered and clean on the outside

•    When disposing of trash, tie trash bags tightly closed and place in a dumpster with a lid; close the lid completely

•    Provide ample trash-disposal facilities for visitors to the event, and keep the area around them free of litter, spills and carelessly-tossed food waste

•    Place trash containers as far away from food serving areas as possible, without making them inconvenient for visitors to use

•    Event management should deploy sanitation workers to clean up litter, food discarded on the ground, and patrol the individual vendors for cleanliness. Otherwise, stinging pests will be attracted to the venue in droves

•    If animals are part of the attraction, as at a county or state fair, manage the manure. Horse stables, cow and hog barns, poultry houses, etc. must be cleaned out regularly and thoroughly, with the manure removed to an off-site location

(Source: Portions of this article were adapted from the PCT Guide to Commercial Pest Management)

Food Processing & Manufacturing