Pests, Like Humans, Can Only Tolerate so much Heat
From cockroaches to rodents, pest pressure has risen, and Mother Nature is partly to blame. Soaring summer temperatures and drought conditions has increased pest activity in and around commercial facilities.
A group of co-workers having lunch in a breakroom is fine, but a cockroach or mouse joining them or making its way into a shipping container of fruit, grains or vegetables or gaining access to the production floor of a dairy or commercial bakery is a big issue.
Why Heat ‘Bugs’ Pests
There are multiple reasons why pest populations including flies, ants, stinging insects, spiders and mice are more populous and visible in and around commercial properties. First, pests, like humans, only tolerate so much heat.
Second, it is a scientific fact that an insect’s metabolic rate increases in warm weather thus requiring them to eat more. The strong survival instinct that is innate in all pests will lead them to aggressively seek new sources of food, water and a cool place to live during periods of extremely hot weather.
Warmer temperatures also expand the habitats that allow pest populations to flourish, increase survival rates and provide more time to reproduce and introduce more pests into the environment. This all adds up to a potential problem for commercial facility and property managers.
What is the impact of warm weather on insects and other pests?
Earlier Pest Breeding – When warm weather starts early, so does insect breeding. This can have consequences on pest population levels for the rest of the season, including faster insect lifecycles and less time between generations. Unfortunately, an earlier start on breeding doesn’t equate to a quicker end to the pest season.
Insect Populations Increase – Since insects are cold-blooded, they do well in the hot, humid summer weather that is found across most of the western U.S.
Dry Weather Forces Pests Inside – Insects need water to survive. However, the effect of too little rain also affects insect behavior. The drought that has stricken the western United States this summer has pushed many insects indoors in search of water.
Nighttime Is Pest Time – Pests will adjust their activity levels according to the temperature. You may notice more pest activity around your commercial property at night than during the day when the weather is hot.
Pest Prevention Tips
The threats posed by pests to food safety are significant. Cockroaches, rodents, flies and birds can transmit bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella or listeria when they crawl across or land on food preparation or serving surfaces and processed and unprocessed foods.
The best way to protect your food processing, distribution or service facility from pests is denying them a way inside in the first place. Sprague recommends the following preventive pest strategies to beat the heat and pests:
- Ensure the facility has adequate waste management systems inside and outside. Improper garbage disposal and overflowing and dirty dumpsters are sure ways to attract and breed pests.
- Seal all pest entry points around pipes, the foundation, loading docks and others. Ensure there are no leaks in the facility roof.
- Institute a “no-prop” door policy for employees. Install air curtains and/or screens to keep flying insects out.
- Install a gravel or rock perimeter around the facility to discourage vegetation growth that could invite and harbor pests.
- Maintain an 18-inch inspection aisle inside the facility. Keep pallets away from the walls and paint the aisle white so that pests and their droppings are easily visible.
- Eliminate clutter that pests could hide and nest in.
- Assess the type of outdoor lighting used at your facility. Consider the use of halogen or sodium vapor lights to discourage pests that are attracted to light.
- Perform regular inspections of storage areas, equipment, drop ceilings, processing areas, locker rooms, windows and ventilation and laboratories for signs of insect or rodent infestations.
Keeping pests from gaining access to your facility is easier – and more cost-effective – than having to eradicate them once they get inside.
Discover The Sprague Difference
For more information on how Sprague Pest Solutions can assist you establish an effective pest prevention or management program in your commercial property, call 855.805.0755.