Pests, the unwanted spare part in commercial equipment

The equipment used in commercial facilities are attractive harborage for a variety of pests. They provide all that pests need to sustain themselves: food, water and shelter.   

For example, the engine compartment of a batch mixer in a large commercial bakery offers a secure, warm spot for rodents or cockroaches to establish a harborage area. The compartment is also in close proximity to multiple accessible food sources. What more could a mouse or German cockroach ask for?

Equipment offers food and liquid refreshment, another pest attractant. Machinery, especially those located in food processing facilities, is a literal buffet of crumbs, sugary spills and food particles. As food commodities travel through an extruder, bucket conveyor, or ribbon blender, extra food materials get trapped in the belts and blades, or fall into cracks and crevices within the machinery.

Industrious pests like cockroaches, ants, flies and stored product pests are not shy. They will seek out these food and liquid morsels, which are often out of sight from workers.

Even though the amount of the food buildup is small, remember that pests do not require significant amounts of food to survive and multiply. For example, a golf ball-sized ball of bread dough can support multiple stored product beetles for several weeks. Loose popcorn kernels can satisfy a hungry mouse’s appetite for days.

When establishing equipment cleaning and maintenance protocols, food facility managers should make sure the entire inside, outside, frame, top, bottom, and accessible interior compartments (such as the motor housing) are cleaned on a regular basis – especially during harvest or other times of heavy usage.

Removing food residues and spillage from your facility’s equipment will reduce the threat of a disruptive infestation that could possibly put your facility and audit in jeopardy.

Pests in machinery are not limited to food processing facilities or other places where there is an abundance of food. All pests need a safe, secure harborage location. Hospitals or hotels have laundry rooms that process hundreds of pounds of linen daily. The heat and humidity generated by washers and dryers attracts pests, including cockroaches, silverfish and rodents.

Further, don’t be fooled by thinking that pests will only target stationary machinery. Carts, forklifts and other machinery and equipment used to transport unfinished and finished products are just as susceptible to pest infestation. For example, food service carts on airliners are a common source of cockroach infestations – even at 30,000 feet.

Tips to keep machinery pest-free

  • Perform regular inspections of machinery and equipment for signs of pest activity (i.e. rodent droppings or nesting materials) and wear and tear that may allow pests access.
  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule for all your stationary and mobile machinery including the hard-to-reach areas and floor areas under and around the equipment. This is the number one way to prevent pests from establishing a harborage.
  • Deny pests access to machinery by making sure panel covers, screening and vent openings are in good repair and sealed according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Reduce clutter in and around machinery and remove unnecessary or off-season machinery to limit pest harborage options.

Wondering whether you’ve got equipment-dwelling pests in your Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, or Portland business? Sprague Pest Solutions offers inspections and professional commercial pest management services to businesses across the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain regions. Contact us today for more information.

Commercial Properties