Pest Management and Reopening Your Business: What You Need to Know

The COVID-19 crisis has turned the business world upside down in ways most could never have imagined.

As states begin to roll out details on reopening plans for businesses, it is important to consider, especially if your facility is involved in food processing or service, education or healthcare, what your pest management reopening needs are?

If there was a certainty during this crisis is that pests paid little attention to social distancing or stay-at-home orders. They continued with their pursuit of identifying sustainable and easy to access sources of food, water and shelter.

This task was made easier in many instances because there were no humans or pest management professionals, like Sprague, around to disrupt their routines and spoil the fun. If pests like flies, cockroaches or bed bugs were present when businesses closed, they went about their daily routines as if nothing happened.

What do business owners and facility and property managers need to know about reopening when it comes to their pest management programs?

The approach Sprague Pest Solutions recommends to commercial facilities involves the following:

  1. A Restart Inspection – Your pest management service provider needs to find out what’s been going on inside your facility while you were closed, or hours were reduced. In some closed restaurants Sprague has been servicing, it has found dead cockroaches floating in deep fryers. There was nothing to stop pests from establishing infestations or reproducing during the shutdown, and a thorough inspection is needed to check on past pest issues and identify any new issues that may have developed.
  2. Catching Up on Backlogged Service Issues – Once the doors reopen there will be many operational issues that will need to be addressed, including pest management. It will be important to come up with a plan for handling and prioritizing the backlog of pest-related service issues. In apartment or condo complexes where service hasn’t been provided because residents have been sheltering in place, a pre-shutdown pest issue (i.e. cockroach or bed bug infestation) has likely grown and spread to adjacent units next door, above or below, and will need to be addressed.
  3. Defining the “New Reality” of Pest Management Programs – What does the new reality of pest management programs look like? The process of preventing and eliminating pests while at the same time safeguarding workplaces is an environmental management program that includes pest management, disinfection and bioremediation services.
  4. Questions to Ask
    • Do additional services need (i.e. disinfection services, bioremediation, employee training, etc.) to be added to existing programs to address new or backlogged pest issues or employee/customer safety concerns?
    • What is the process for servicing facilities going forward? Do service times need to be adjusted when no or fewer employees or customers are present? What are the requirements for service professionals to gain access to facilities (i.e. PPE or temperature checks)? How do the new requirements sync up with existing pest management programs?
    • Have an open conversation with your service provider about what steps are needed to allow essential pest management services to be delivered in a more convenient and safer way (i.e. social distancing) for everyone involved.

Where to Focus Your Resources

Depending on whether your facility was shut down completely, open with reduced hours, open without customers (i.e. restaurants or retail stores with curbside pickup) or totally open (i.e. grocery stores, quick service food and gas stores), you’ll want your pest management program to address specific tasks as you get back to work.

Closed

  • Emphasis Point – If you paused pest control services, have a restart inspection completed and set a timetable to catch up on back logged pest-related issues.

Reduced Hours/Service

  • Emphasis Point – If you had reduced hours focus on catching up on backlogged pest issues that may have not been performed. For example, if only exterior services were being delivered, finding out what’s been going on inside your facility pest-wise is important.

Been Open Without Customers and Limited Staff

  • Emphasis Point – Place your efforts on having disinfection services performed to safely bring back customers and additional employees to the facility.

Fully Opened with Customers/Employees

  • Emphasis Point – Focus on how to maintain customer and employee safety through a comprehensive environmental services package including pest control, disinfection and bioremediation services.

For more information on how Sprague can assist you reopen your business or facility with the peace of mind that it is protected from pests and pathogen threats, call 855.805.0755 or visit www.spraguepest.com

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