Industry Spotlight: Liquid Processing and Storage Facilities

Liquid food processing and storage facilities including beverage and bottling plants, breweries, seafood canning facilities, dairies and wineries support pests with a higher need for moisture including several species of cockroaches and flies. How do QA and facility managers get pests to “dry” up and go away?

There are special challenges associated with designing and implementing pest management programs in facilities that process liquids or moist foods. Typically, these facilities will use wet clean-up procedures to sanitize their equipment and structural elements. The wet clean-up procedures, as well as the moisture generated from the processing, will contribute to structural degradation and pest presence.

Conditions created by available moisture and heat will benefit pests like cockroaches and flies. Drains, food processing equipment and facility floors, in particular, take a beating from the heavy use of sanitizers and copious quantities of water and deteriorated floors can lead to small fly infestations.

Clients play an important role in the successful execution of any pest prevention or management program. Sprague will assist by reporting the issues found during inspections and making recommendations, but it will take support from plant management to educate, coach and monitor food plant employee actions that can directly impact the success of any program.

Pest prevention starts with proper facility design and key pest prevention considerations for wet (and dry) food processing facilities design include:

  • Location – Facilities placed in areas which are heavily wooded, border farm fields or bodies of water are going to be subject to certain pest pressures.
  • Sanitation – Equipment and structural components should be selected based on the ability to clean these surfaces. Equipment should be placed in a manner that will facilitate cleaning so there are not areas between equipment and walls or floors which cannot be easily or effectively cleaned.
  • Durability – Structural surfaces and equipment should be able to withstand the processing that will occur in the area. For liquid processing plants, this could include heavy use of sanitizers, heat and water (often applied with high-pressure cleaning equipment). Deterioration such as loss of tile grouting and breakdown of epoxy floor coverings can be a major issue in wet processing areas.
  • Lighting – Lights especially around the exterior of the building can serve as attractants to insects. Use sodium vapor lighting, versus mercury vapor lighting. Install lights off or way from the building where permissible, and direct lights towards the structure as needed. Use daylight or motion sensors when feasible to reduce the time that such are lighting remains on.
  • Air Flow – Consider the use of air curtains and quick roll-up doors to add additional pest barriers. Air curtains can be installed on frequently used doors to help prevent entry of flying insects. Quick roll-up doors can be added to inner dock entry to points to help physically separate pest prone areas like receiving docks from more sensitive production areas.
  • Drainage – Design water management systems and drains so they can properly accommodate the quantities of waste water generated, and assure floors are constructed so that water is properly funneled towards the floor drains. Drain construction and durability of design can have a major impact on incidence of pests like the small flies.

The Sprague Pest Experts have decades of experience working on wet and dry food processing facilities and have the know-how and proven results to design and deliver pest management programs that yield the results your facility demands.


Editor’s Note: Portions of this article were adapted from Pest Control Technology’s Guide to Commercial Pest Management.

Food Processing & Manufacturing