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In a sweeping overview, Hitesh Shetty, Director, Westfield Pest Control lays down the law for designing and implementing a pest management strategy for manufacturing facilities.

Integrated Pest Management

Hitesh Shetty, Director, Westfield Pest Control

Pest infestation in the manufacturing facility can lead to downtime and loss of production. Pest barriers must be created at an early stage, before they start to affect your goods, facility and more importantly, people.

Pest management is not ‘one size fits all’; the technique to be applied is different for both different pests and industries. The issues faced by different industries can be quite different; not only are some of these issues unique to each industry, but pests also vary, based on different geographical locations, environmental and weather conditions.

Most of the time, manufacturing facilities are on the outskirts of cities, and often, wild dogs, cats, snakes and other reptiles must also be carefully managed while considering pest management to avoid harming them.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective way in which all these pest-related issues can be kept at bay. IPM is an environmentally sensitive yet effective approach to pest management. It entails minimum use of chemicals to get rid of pests, and the use of other effective methods to repel pests.

Preventive design and maintenance

The first step toward pest management starts at the time of designing and building the facility. It is important to consult pest managers, right at the designing stage itself. Pest management strategies should be based on site soil, weather and environmental conditions, as well as on business functions.

Many pests, such as termites, require extensive treatment right from the excavation stage itself. I have had instances where the building was erected, but even before the occupants could enter the facility, it was completely damaged by termites.

Pest management programs should include managing pests not only within the facility, but also the surrounding outside areas, such as incoming technical ingredients, transportation vehicles, corrugated packing material, sewer lines and garbage management disposal.

Beyond convention solutions

Data upkeep is important, specifically for food processing, manufacturing, and storage plants that includes record keeping and pest monitoring for effectiveness and compliance.

Weed and grass in the surrounding of your facility must be trimmed and well managed. Elimination of dusty roads and parking lots will help in avoiding food contamination by microbes and airborne particles.

Other common mistakes include improper drain management and stagnant water, which act as a water source and leads to mosquito breeding, and the growth of algae, fungi, insects, rodents and other microorganisms.

The lighting design must always be away from the main building to avoid entry of night flying insects into doors and windows. Low sodium lights are considered to attract fewer insects.

Bird droppings carry over 60 diseases. Creating barriers for birds and reducing waste food and spillage are some measures which could reduce bird infestation to a great extent.

Some other environmentally friendly methods include rodent traps, bird barriers and pheromone traps.

An automatic continuous management system tool, such as the use of IoT and AI for rodents and other pests is a great idea, especially for larger facilities.

The last but not the least bit in designing the best pest strategy include the right trap design, use of proper attractants, trap placement and the number of traps per square feet, and the proper use of pesticides.

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