4 Common Pests Impacting Facilities In 2023
In addition, some stored product insects create cocoons and webbing that can clog machinery and lead to costly downtime. The Indian meal moth, Cigarette beetle, Drugstore beetle, and Warehouse beetle are just a few of the most common stored product insect species that can disrupt production at your facility.
Facility managers should be trained to identify specific signs of a potential stored product pest infestation. Those signs may include:
- Damage to store product or holes in packets or bags of product
- Live or dead insects (small beetles and moths), larvae, pupae or silk webbing on food storage bins and shelves
- Larvae or webbing on the outside of packets or bags
- Larvae, pupae or silk webbing in cracks and crevices around shelves, on machinery, surrounding food spillages or on beams and window sills
Stored product pest infestations in a facility can appear in a small area, such as a bag or pallet of raw material. However, if left undetected, infestations can disperse rapidly throughout the premises. Therefore, vigilant regular inspections and monitoring are an integral part of managing stored product pests. If pest activity is found, control methods will involve small isolated treatments. If the infestation is extensive and dispersed throughout the property, it may be necessary to treat the entire premises using space treatments.
A “newer” pest making its way across the U.S. is the spotted lanternfly. Established infestations have been found in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Indiana, with multiple individual sightings in Vermont, Rhode Island and North Carolina. As interstate commerce traffic is increasing, so are the opportunities for the fly to spread to additional states.
The spotted lanternfly has been spreading quickly since it was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. Although most commonly reported in a residential setting, these pests have also been found flocking toward the exterior lighting and surrounding landscapes of commercial facilities.
They are also excellent hitchhikers and can attach themselves to workers’ clothing and incoming shipments. To prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly, facility executives can start by inspecting the vehicles and supplies coming in and out of facilities. Inspect vehicles to ensure spotted lanternflies are not hitching a ride on or under the vehicle or have laid eggs. Remove the insects and/or egg masses before traveling to prevent spreading to other areas of the country.
Look for “putty” or smears of mud: The eggs look like a smear of mud and one egg mass can have up to 50 eggs. Take a credit card or a scraper, scrape off the eggs, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away. Report spotted lanternflies if new to the area: If spotted lanternflies are new to the area, notify the appropriate agency, such as the state department of agriculture. A pest professional can also help determine the correct reporting body.
Birds are often overlooked in the pest conversation. Yet, bird droppings can cause histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis in humans. Additionally, pigeons and sparrows have been found to be reservoir species for encephalitis viruses such as West Nile Virus, which are carried by mosquitoes. Bird droppings around food and retail locations may be inadvertently brought into the interior of establishments, potentially causing cross-contamination. Birds and bird nests may also be sources of various bugs and mites.
Birds seek shelter and often find easy food sources around larger commercial buildings with decreased foot traffic. Although different regions and climates attract various types of birds, many species survive and thrive longer through colder seasons thanks, in part, to warmer temperatures. Undoubtedly, bird droppings and the birds responsible are more than just an eyesore for a business.
To deter pigeons and birds away from commercial properties, facility managers can use these tactics:
- Incorporate bird-scaring decoys. Be sure to regularly change the decoy’s position to outsmart the birds.
- Put up signage. Strongly discourage feeding birds.
- Remove food and trash sources. Secure garbage bin lids and don’t leave trash bags or unused packing material in the open, as birds can use the disposed of materials to build nests.
- Secure plastic curtains to openings at loading docks. This will keep birds from flying or walking in.
Not only are facilities at risk of cross-contamination if bird problems exist, their droppings and feathers can serve as slip, trip, and fall hazards for workers going in and out of the facilities. If a bird problem is suspected, it is imperative for facility managers to act immediately.
Pest infestations can impact every aspect of business operation. Rodents, stored product pests, spotted lanternflies and birds are just some of the potential species that can impact commercial facilities (others include bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, etc.) In order to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, avoid potentially damaging backlash to the brand’s reputation and to prevent costly repairs caused by structural damage, facility and logistics managers should work with a trusted pest control company to generate a brand-specific action plan. These tailored treatment plans will take into consideration local and state laws, regional issues and unique work environments in order to find the best solution for each specific brand.
Lockwood is an Associated Certified Entomologist and Technical Service Manager for Rentokil Terminix. With more than 19 years of experience, he has a variety of knowledge in the pest management industry for logistics, warehousing and facilities, pharmaceuticals and grocery.
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