As we know, the most common cause of closure of food premises is pest infestations and the importance of an all-round approach to pest control must not be under-estimated.
Not all pest control services are the same. Are you making the most of your money and ensuring you’re getting the service you’re paying for?
When you buy anything you want to get good value, therefore it stands to reason that you should know a little about the service that you are paying for. The consequences of ineffective pest control can be costly, damaging and detrimental to your business, so here are a few pointers to help you monitor your pest controller and establish if your contractor is good value.
Top ten tips for getting value from your pest control contractor
1 – Detailed survey – This should be undertaken before any work starts. A professional pest controller would spend time looking in all of the hard-to-reach areas where pests could hide.
2 – Routine visits – make sure you get enough. The industry standard for routine pest control inspections/treatments tends to be 8 visits a year. The reason being most common pests have the ability to reproduce every month or so – therefore a good inspection on a 6-7 weekly basis will find signs of new pests and a ‘nip it in the bud’ solution can be delivered before the problem gets out of hand.
3 – Planned follow up visits for pest infestations – If a pest problem is discovered on a routine visit, remedial work done on that visit should not be deemed “enough” to cure the issue, and a further follow up visit should be made a week to ten days later to ensure the problem has been dealt with.
The danger of failing to return for a follow up visit will make getting to the root of, and solving the problem, even harder. This could also cause a pest to consume a pesticide, but not enough to eliminate it, which in turn can lead to tolerance and eventually resistance to the pesticide. In general terms, to not follow up on an infestation is unprofessional and bad practice.
4 – Regular inspections of all areas – This may include the cellars, roof voids, false ceilings, storage areas, back office, front of house and of course all the food areas. Not surprisingly this takes time, so please be prepared to pay a reasonable sum for a good quality job.
5 – Inclusion of detecting devices/monitors – Good pest control is NOT about placing bait boxes – it’s about what is happening in between them. It is all down to the ability to spot signs of pest evidence, therefore beware of a pest controller who arrives on site solely asking to be shown where the bait boxes are.
6 – Regular reporting from your contractor – A legible report should be produced at the end of the inspection/treatment and discussed with the relevant member of your staff.
7 – Professionally trained personnel – Look for evidence that the contractor that you are using (or considering) takes training seriously. British Pest Control Association (BPCA) insists all members prove they have the required training and qualifications, so check if your contractor is a BPCA member to ensure they meet the professional training requirements. Is the pest controller continuing their professional development (CPD) with training on an ongoing basis? Can they produce evidence they registered with the PROMPT CPD scheme?
8 – Expect to keep the same technician – The quality of the technician that comes to visit on a pre-determined frequency is absolutely vital. This technician should be (90% of the time) the same person. Of course – if you don’t think your technician is delivering to the required standard, then let your contractor know, sooner rather than later.
9 – Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – are they using a combined approach to solving pest problems with minimal impact on the location and environment? Pest control is more than just placing poisons. An IPM approach uses a range of methods for both an immediate and future preventative benefit. This may recommend proofing, hygiene, stock management, temperature control, physical control etc. using a combination of methods that work better together than in isolation.
10 – Adding value to your business – your pest contractor should be willing to provide you with relevant recommendations to reduce pest risk to your business. They should be able to support you with technical information, training for your staff, extra support in preparation for any hygiene audits and help with any accreditations your business may apply for.
In short your pest control contractor should be an asset to your business, investigating and eliminating any pest concerns you have, and protecting your business from future problems. It is important that you work in partnership with your contractor to ensure that you understand their recommendations and progress them effectively.
If infestation continues, don’t be afraid to ask your contractor to stop and review their strategy because unless they change, it will continue……
Paul Rodman – Operations Director
Monitor Pest Control Ltd
Food Alert would like to thank Paul Rodman for contributing this article to the newsletter.
Please contact Food Alert on 020 7244 1900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any enquiries about this topic.