A guide to fuller understanding of pests threatening your packaging operations
When it comes to survival of the species, food, water and shelter are three common threads for mankind and pests alike. But sharing them, willingly or not, is a terrifying thought—not only for food packaging operations but for every self-respecting packaging and production plant out there.
If left unchecked, pests like rodents, insects or birds would not mind spending their entire lives inside your packaging plant—especially if it supplies the vast food-and-beverage sector.
For the packaging products producers, such pests are a particularly damning concern, as it only takes one pest making its way inside, or leaving a visible trace on a packaging product to do virtually irreparable harm to your company’s hard-earned reputation.
As damaging as that may be, the real health risks posed by pest infestation to both employees and consumers pose an even greater threat to a company’s viability and longevity.
For most typical pests, manufacturing and packaging facilities provide a highly tempting target for residence—offering warmth, protection from outside elements and predators and, for the more industrious types, enough food and water to ensure sufficient sustenance to keep themselves alive and propagating.
Driven by very strong survival instincts, pests will inevitably find a way of getting inside your industrial facility given the slightest opportunity to do so, be it by breaking in through already-present cracks in the facility’s physical structure; via the landscaping set-up; or simply by living in and around your plant’s garbage bins and containers.
To safeguard your operations from being victimized by this omnipresent threat, it is important to retain the services of a reputable pest management professional or services provider, as well as to familiarize yourself with some of the most common pests and the potential damage they can cause.
Rodents are mammals, characterized by a pair of incisor teeth in the upper and lower jaw that grow throughout the creature’s life, and can only be kept in check by gnawing.
Contrary to popular belief, rodents are not necessarily a seasonal pest problem. While it is true that a rodent is more likely to seek out shelter when the weather begins to cool down, it is involved in the search for food sources on a year-round basis, making your plant susceptible at any given time of the year.
Most pest management professionals will unanimously acknowledge that the exterior of your building should be the first line of defense against these pests because the best way to create a deterrent is by managing the problem from the outside first—thereby preventing their entry into the building to begin with.
In addition to carrying diseases such as Hantavirus and Salmonella, rodents can also easily contaminate packaged food products with their hair, urine and fecal matter.
In addition to health implications, rodents can cause substantial damage to the facility infrastructure. Because rodents can sometimes mistake wires for tree roots, for example, their constant gnawing has potential to spark an electrical fire.
Being nocturnal creatures, rodents can be very difficult to spot during the day, but they do leave enough visible evidence in their wake to enable you to determine their presence—provided you know what you’re looking for.
• Droppings. A strong indicator of a mouse infestation are visible rodent droppings, most measuring about the size of a grain of rice. The softer the dropping, the stronger the indication of recent infestation activity.