Pest control in supermarkets
We depend on supermarkets unlike any other type of shop. They sell food and supplies from all over the world, and a supermarket being closed can be a huge inconvenience for the locals. The vast amounts of food they store on the premises and the number of deliveries they receive each day mean that pest control can be a real problem for supermarkets, and our dependence on them makes pest control vital. Read on for our guide to the most problematic pests and some tips for pest control in supermarkets.
Rats and mice wreak havoc on supermarkets in a number of ways. They gnaw at every opportunity they can get, causing structural damage to walls and floorboards. They may accidentally chew through wiring too, damaging electrics behind walls, which can be expensive to fix, and damaging machinery used on the shop floor. Tills, forklifts, and floor cleaners will be rendered useless if rodents get in and chew through the wires.
Additionally, they’ll cause damage to food packaging and food products, contaminating everything they touch. Mice urinate almost constantly, so they literally leave a trail of bacteria in their path. Rodents are known to spread many diseases too, including Salmonellosis and Lyme disease, both of which can be fatal.
Flies are particularly troublesome for supermarkets. Being able to fly means they can very quickly contaminate a large area. They also breed incredibly quickly, so if a few flies enter a supermarket, it won’t be long before there are many, many flies. Flies feed on and often live around unclean, bacteria-filled items, such as waste and faeces. As such, the risk of contamination is extremely high, and flies defecate whilst they eat, so any foodstuff they manage to get access to will be unsafe for human consumption. Food that’s not stored within sealed packaging is particularly at risk, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cockroaches are another difficult pest for supermarkets. They’re constantly secreting bodily fluids and droppings which contaminates food products, leaves stains wherever they walk, and has a strong, noxious odour. Cockroaches are known to spread a number of disease-causing bacteria, including salmonella and e.coli. They have also been known to trigger asthma attacks in people, especially children and those with allergies.
Above all this, cockroaches are incredibly resilient. They can survive in incredibly harsh conditions, and they reproduce at an alarming rate, so taking care of just some of the cockroaches isn’t enough. Pretty soon you’ll have a full-blown infestation on your hands again. You need a professional pest controller to eradicate the entire colony.
Ants themselves do not carry diseases, making them less of a direct threat to our health. However, they may still contaminate food products, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, by walking over them after walking on unclean/affected surfaces. They’re very opportunistic, often only going where they can find food. They’re very adaptable, and ant colonies often have thousands of individual ants in them. Given these numbers, they’re often very easy to spot and can be really off-putting for customers (and staff members).
Birds, especially pigeons, pose a significant threat to supermarkets. Unlike most other pests, they won’t actually enter the premises, but they cause damage to the exterior. Birds nests often block air vents which can damage them, requiring the supermarket to pay for expensive repairs. Large numbers of birds can also cause damage to the roof, breaking tiles, gutters, and other features.
Additionally, bird droppings can pose a health risk to the public, staff, and delivery workers. If the congregation of birds is large enough, then droppings will appear almost constantly. Bird droppings carry as many as 60 different diseases and are a huge eyesore. As well as this, the acid in bird droppings can corrode softer stone, causing long-lasting structural damage to the building (most commonly the roof). They’re an expensive and difficult pest to deal with, and professional pest controllers should always be called in such circumstances.
Pest control measures supermarkets can take
Check for entry points
Pests can fit through the smallest of gaps, so check for any cracks in the walls or gaps in skirting boards. What may just seem like a slight crack may actually be an access point for bugs, such as ants and cockroaches. Be sure to look behind shelving, cupboards, and fridges. Also, it may seem obvious but ensure that all doors are closed when they aren’t in use. Of course, the main entrance to a supermarket is virtually always open when the store is, but every other door should be firmly closed unless in use. Leaving the doors open is like an invitation for pests.
Every delivery a supermarket receives must be thoroughly checked for pests. Failing to do so runs the risk of staff willingly transporting pests into the store. Pests can often be found hiding amongst fresh produce, even when it appears to be tightly packaged. Additionally, any food packages that are opened pose an even bigger threat. Not only may they be harbouring pests, but any spillages will attract even more pests to the area. Make sure you know what’s entering your store to prevent any surprise visitors.
Maintain a good cleaning regime
Spillages and crumbs should be cleaned up immediately, both on the shop floor and in staff areas. A few crumbs can attract a few pests, and a few pests quickly become many pests, then before you know it you have a full infestation on your hands. Sweep up, mop floors, and vacuum as regularly as possible.
Be sure to dispose of rubbish promptly too, and try not to have it on/near the premises for too long. The longer waste sits around, the more it attracts pests.
Call a pest control expert
The final, and arguably most important tip, is to call a pest control expert as soon as you see signs of pests. As we’ve said, seeing one mouse or cockroach indicates that there are many more lurking out of sight. Don’t be complacent or you’ll end up with a health and safety nightmare on your hands, and your supermarket may even be forced to close for a period of time. Be proactive and call a pest controller immediately. We’ll quickly assess the situation, deal with the infestation, and put proofing measures in place to ensure that the pests don’t return any time soon.
Here at Inoculand, we have experience dealing with everything from small, residential flats to huge office blocks, and more. Get in touch with us to find out how we can solve your supermarket’s pest problem, or better yet, help to prevent one from occurring.