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The Difference Between Pest Control and Pest Prevention

Property, facility and QA managers often confuse the subtle, yet important differences between pest control and pest prevention. Taking either for granted or making assumptions can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of a pest control program.

Pest control is often defined as deploying pest control devices or making targeted application of pesticides to eliminate a specific pest threat. It’s checking those devices for activity, changing bait stations or traps, and providing clients with a service report. It’s a reactive, tactical level approach to an immediate pest issue(s).

Pest prevention, on the other hand, is a proactive approach to denying pests from gaining access to a commercial property. It is a more comprehensive approach that includes pest trend analysis, risk analysis, exclusion, sanitation and cleaning, maintenance and cultural practices.

A preventive approach defines what clients are responsible for, what pest management professional are responsible for and makes sure both parties are fulfilling their responsibilities.

Pest Prevention = Client Engagement

Pest prevention requires more client engagement and buy-in from management as well as frontline workers. Their understanding of the objectives and requirements of the program can determine its effectiveness.  Examples of pest prevention include:

  • Determining who is responsible on staff for inspecting incoming shipments for signs of pests.
  • Establishing a uniform cleaning protocol so employees don’t accidentally bring pests inside a facility and introduce them to locker room areas.
  • Determining what areas of a plant should be wet washed rather than dry washed to reduce moisture attracting pests like cockroaches or flies.
  • Making sure the physical condition of the plant is solid and that basic maintenance tasks – installing door sweeps or sealing expansion joints – to keep pests out are being taken care of.
  • Locating dumpsters away from entrances and making sure they are cleaned regularly.
  • Conducting regular wellness checks of your program with your pest management service provider to make sure it is working as it should.

Creating A Pest Prevention Mindset

An established pest prevention program allows facility, property and QA managers to better manage and reduce risk in their facilities. While it requires a greater investment of time, people and resources on the front end, once it is established it becomes second nature and lowers a facility’s pest exposure.

What does it take to transition to a pest prevention mindset? There are various factors including the size and structural design of a facility, what type of products are produced or stored there, the budget for maintenance or training, etc. Most experts feel it should take roughly 60 days to make an effective transition.

Employee training and education is an important element to creating a successful pest prevention program. When employees understand how their actions influence the performance of the program and why it’s necessary to follow the plan, the easier it will be to secure buy-in and see positive results.

Steps to Pest Prevention:

  • Conducting risk assessments and frequent inspections
  • Eliminating conducive conditions
  • Conducting practice audits
  • Establishing sanitation protocols including equipment cleaning
  • Staying on top of facility maintenance
  • Exclusion practices (i.e., door sweeps, vent screens, caulking, etc.)
  • Employee training
  • Pest monitoring and trend analysis
  • Effective communication between facility employees, management and pest professionals regarding pest issues and conducive conditions

Even with a proper pest prevention program in place, traditional pest control activities are still necessary when specific needs arise. In these instances, investing the time and effort to identify and analyze what led to the problem in the first place will bolster future pest prevention efforts.

If your business is looking for a pest management partner that goes the extra mile to design and deliver comprehensive IPM-based pest management programs, call Rottler Pest Solutions at 636-249-1601 for a free inspection, consultation or training for your staff.

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