Here is everything you need to know about hiring a commercial pest control service, your legal requirements and other organisations that can provide you with further information.
It’s common knowledge that pests are a risk to public health and the value of business assets. They can chew through wires, spread bacteria, trigger allergic reactions and cause structural damage, among other things. Double-checking for signs of pests is an important procedure and most checks should be carried out on a regular basis.
Qualified pest control professionals can inspect your premises and give you immediate advice on what action needs to be taken depending on your business type, property structure and the severity of the current situation.
Businesses have a statutory obligation too to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all customers and employees. This means that failure to take measures to prevent the risk of illness or injury caused by pests could result in prosecution with fines and/or imprisonment if they are caught not complying with the law.
But contracting with the wrong pest control service can be confusing and expensive, so understanding what’s involved and what’s best for you is important.
Inspections and Assessments
The choice of techniques to be used will depend on an inspection of the property. There will be a thorough site survey for signs of pests and to assess what risks they pose to the business and its employees.
The assessment will include evaluating your risk appetite, preparing a preventative plan, hygiene clean options, proofing works as well as providing recommendations about maintenance of the building and pest control options.
Operators have access to specialist industry tools and knowledge to get rid of invasives without damaging delicate property or putting people’s health at risk. With options like traps that don’t harm humans or pets, there are more humane ways than some of getting rid of them.
Your pest control report will include the damage pests may have caused and help to develop a risk assessment for the business. They will also advise you on which pest control techniques are best.
The 3 main types of pest
Mice and rats cause damage through the substances they chew through, their urine and their droppings. They can also carry diseases that can seriously harm customers and employees. These include salmonella, hantavirus, leptospirosis and rat bite fever.
The British Pest Control Associates has reported a recent increase of over 40% of rat and mouse sightings, this may be down to less footfall and food waste during the lockdown, forcing them to venture further afield to find food. Empty buildings will force behavioural changes in rats, who by nature are excellent at adapting to new environments and surroundings. With less food on the streets and in bins, different avenues of gathering food will follow.
Insects such as ants and cockroaches can harm people with allergies, spread viruses and contaminate food supplies. They also damage building structures through chewing or burrowing.
An infestation of insects can make a business unhygienic, increase the cost of raw material, and ruin the commercial viability of food. This is because the quality and safety of a product depends on its hygienic handling procedures. Insects can also be a big problem to machinery, especially in the production of food. It can cause downtime and be expensive for the company.
Pigeons can cause structural damage, contaminate food supplies and spread bacteria and viruses. They also carry parasites which can infect humans, plus block gutters, chimneys and flues. Pigeons are also very noisy, and along with the ‘mess’ they leave, cause great disturbance to employees and/or guests. Pigeons are harmful to health to commercial buildings due to their droppings and nests.
They can spread diseases, including cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, salmonellosis and toxoplasmosis which can be fatal if contracted by humans. Carrying a wide range of diseases, makes working with pigeons a risk factor for those who handle them on a regular basis such as pest control experts.
Pest control solutions
Professional commercial operators have many techniques they can use to remove pests from a building. These include glue traps, traps using food and other baits and rodenticides. You should discuss environmentally-friendly options with your pest control inspector too and these may include building barriers, both physical and electronic, that repel pests.
Integrated Pest Management Services
These are proven pest control methods to guarantee early detection, detailed monitoring and precise treatment to manage the issues as effectively as possible. It is an approach to pest management that is both economically and environmentally effective, so discuss the level of service you need.
Preventing business loss
Prevention is always more effective than cure, so it’s cheaper in the long run to maintain a high standard of hygiene and building repair. A reputable pest control service will have a checklist to run through with you of matters that need attending to, and can be relied on to treat any pests that might cause a risk to the health or well-being of people or animals in your business.
Safeguarding your investment
Rodents cause a wide range of damage due to their gnawing habits. Their strong teeth can easily puncture wood and aluminium and can cause damage to property – even fires if electric cables are attacked, which can rapidly put a business out of action. Rodents will also eat a wide range of foodstuffs and can damage or contaminate many tonnes of product.
Protecting your reputation
Publicity from being exposed as a pest-infested business can harm your reputation. This can become very expensive for the business as well as reduce staff morale. The best way of avoiding this is to have a structured cleaning process and to use a regular and effective pest control service that checks all areas of the building for signs of pests.
What else you can do
Pests love food waste, so disposing of it properly is a good way to discourage unwanted visitors to your property. A neat and tidy working environment also makes it less conducive to pest breeding, which in turn reduces the risk of disease spreading through your company.
As well as providing effective pest control services, businesses can often benefit from training and education in preventing pest problems. There are many resources available on the subject, such as training for managers and staff of companies as well as educational materials.
Pest control legal requirements
In order to protect staff, consumers and the environment, health agencies are increasingly focusing their attention on businesses regarding pest management. The food industry, like food processing plants and restaurants have been particularly targeted because of its high public profile concerning food safety and consumer protection.
Both national and local governments have introduced laws to protect the food industry from pests and guarantee a low risk of contamination of products.
Pest control organisations
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) – Ideally, your preferred commercial pest control operator will be a member of BPCA so be fully qualified, experienced and committed to protecting your business. The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) was set up in 1944 to:
- Acknowledge pest control as an integral part of managing health, care or building standards for businesses and their environments.
- Promote best practice in the profession.
- Foster high standards of ethics and professionalism.
National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) – the leading professional body for pest management technicians in the UK. They exist to provide quality training, support and advice for members with a special interest in pest management and related subjects.
Basis PROMPT – the professional pest controllers register in the UK.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environmental Health Officer (EHO) are the enforcers of the pest control legislation in the UK. Both can serve improvement notices, prohibition notices, and/or penalties.
Pest Control Legislation
The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 was first introduced in the UK to cover all aspects of pests and their control. The function of the Act is to prevent economic loss caused by damage caused or likely to be caused by vermin, insects, and birds; it makes it illegal for any person knowingly or recklessly to cause or permit such damage.
It also gives local authorities the power to take measures against pest control agents whose operations endanger public health; and provides that a person who contravenes any provision of this Act shall be liable on summary conviction either-
- to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale, or,
- to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
It also empowers local councils to take remedial action against persons who fail to comply with the provision of this Act, and to prosecute them under section 57 of the Local Government Act 1972 which provides that where a local authority considers that damage caused by insects or vermin is likely to occur, they shall be authorised to exercise powers in relation to that damage on their own initiative.
The main aims of Regulation EC 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs are: to establish a common approach towards ensuring the hygiene of foodstuffs; to harmonize each Member State’s food legislation; and to guarantee consumers protection from any potential hazards related with food.
This regulation covers all foods, except those which are subject to specific directives (e.g. meat products). Hygienic methods of production and food hygiene criteria are laid down for meat, fish and dairy products. All food businesses must register with the relevant authority in order to operate legally.
Helpful tips to prevent pest infestation
- Request a Back-To-Work pest inspection with your pest control company
- Check the condition of pest control equipment, eg, fly screens
- Check access points are sealed
- Perform comprehensive cleaning and hygiene processes
- Ensure all food sources are secure from pests
- Perform regular maintenance and pest activity checks
- Only use a professionally qualified pest control operator
What can be done?
Our trusted supply partners are Terminix, the one of the UK’s leading professional and environmentally responsible pest control companies. Their approach to the control and prevention of pests is based on targeted monitoring and management of pests, addressing the root causes that allow them to thrive, and reducing reliance on toxic methods wherever possible.
Terminix has the length of experience and scale to provide you with a comprehensive service, whatever your size or type of business. They will allow you to focus on other matters in the business, like winning sales, and not be distracted from pest control issues. It’s a quality, cost-effective service.
Using Meercat’s national buying power, we’re able to provide you access to this service at a fraction of the cost of going direct. When you call Meercat, we’ll guide you through the whole process of getting the most appropriate pest control management system in place and how your potential risks and treatments will be identified. It’s all part of our service to you. Call us on 01444 416529 to discuss.