By Robert Lockwood
From the February 2023 Issue
Labor shortages and high turnover rates are just a few of the recent challenges impacting commercial industries across the world. These challenges continue to impact sanitation, operational, and custodial efforts in everything from grocery stores to restaurants to distribution centers. One thing that is not in short supply for many of these commercial spaces—pests.
There are four common pests that facility executives should be on the lookout for in 2023: rodents, stored product pests, the spotted lanternfly, and birds. These pests commonly seek shelter in or around large warehouses, facilities, and distribution centers. With some products still in short supply and fewer staff on board to manage commercial facilities currently, commercial property owners and facility managers can use these commercial pest insights to help keep commercial facilities and warehouse spaces pest-free.
Rodent activity is increasing throughout many commercial industries. Roof rat populations are well established on the west coast and southern states. Colder than normal winter temperatures may create additional rodent pressure as rodents, and other pests, will try to come into the interior of the structures for warmth.
To help keep rodents from moving into commercial spaces, facility management should conduct an extensive walkthrough of the facility and address potential issues, including:
- Entrances. Fit weather-stripping around exterior doors. Rats can squeeze through gaps as small as a quarter. They will also enlarge gaps by gnawing at them.
- Gaps in exterior walls. Fill holes or small openings (around utility cables or pipework) with stainless steel wire wool, caulking or concrete. Steel or aluminum plating can also be used.
- Roofs. Repair roof damage and use wire mesh to seal gaps. Rats often enter through gaps in broken roof tiles or under eaves.
- Vegetation. Trim vegetation away from the building’s exterior. Rats climb along electrical cables or use overhanging branches to get into loft spaces and attics.
- Drains and sewer pipes. Ensure all sewer pipe damage is repaired in a timely manner. Rats have been known to swim up damaged sewer pipes and into toilets. Additionally, use tightly fitting metal grates or screens to cover drains and check that all drain pipes are in good working order.
Stored Product Pests
Facilities that process, store, or sell grains and dried goods are at risk of infestation by stored product pests. These pests can rapidly move throughout a facility to attack dried, stored foods in grocery stores, warehouses, and food processing facilities, ultimately destroying the products. They can feed on any number of products including pet food, birdseed, pasta, dried fruits, chocolate, and flour and grain products, causing contamination issues and making facilities susceptible to shutdowns and lost business.