For many restaurant owners, getting rid of pests has always been seen as a grudge purchase. You see a pest, you call a pest control company to eliminate the problem. That’s it. However, if you really want effective control that will prevent insects and rodents from invading and threatening the reputation of your establishment, while protecting it from future infestations, then you may need to consider a different approach to managing pest risks.

When it comes to pest, we distinguish between two approaches: Pest Control and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Here we’ll discuss what each approach is and the importance of choosing the right approach for your restaurant.

What is Pest Control?

Pest control can be defined as the process of minimising or removing any unwanted species that can be considered a ‘pest’ from a home, place of business or public building. The controlling of pests will generally involve the following steps to eliminate any pests that have already established a presence within the space:

  • Identify the type of pest and where they are entering the property
  • Eradicate any pests already in the property (using pesticides or other treatments)
  • Advise on any damage caused by the pests
  • Seal off any entry points to prevent further entry of pests
  • Regular treatment as and when required

Traditional pest control programs generally rely on reactive control mechanisms based on visual evidence of pests. While this approach is effective in assisting homeowners and businesses needing action, it does not necessarily address the root cause of the problem, often focussing solely on eradicating one type pest – the one causing the apparent infestation.

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What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

According to Food Safety Magazine, IPM can be described as “a coordinated decision-making and action process that uses the most appropriate pest control methods and strategy in an environmentally and economically sound manner to meet programmatic pest management objectives.”

An IPM program focuses on the following key strategies of pest management and control:

  • Routine inspection of internal and external areas for possible pest infestations (findings are documented)
  • Correct identification of the target pest, which is critical to effectively eliminating the pest
  • Appropriate actions are taken to exclude existing pest infestations
  • The right combination of treatments is selected to ensure that pests are eliminated in a way that presents the least risk to food safety programs
  • Since IPM is an ongoing process, facilities are constantly monitored for pest activity – this includes instituting operational changes that will protect against future infestation

IPM therefore offers a more proactive approach to pest prevention and control. The successful implementation of an IPM program relies on a fundamental knowledge of pest life cycles with a focus on prevention, and establishing a routine for monitoring, corrective action and education.

What’s best for your restaurant?

Any business that serves food to customers and the general public has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their patrons. Any pest infestation, current or future, could jeapardise the very integrity of your restaurant. For this reason, an IPM program is critical to ensure food safety, quality assurance and compliance.

Looking for a more proactive approach to pest control? Contact The Specialists about implementing a Integrated Pest Management program today

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Source: Food Safety Magazine, IPM: A Practical Approach to Pest control