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Pest Control Introduction

Pest Control Introduction.

Pests are animals, birds or insects which live in or on food and either directly damage it or contaminate it. Whilst damage itself is serious, many pests are carriers of bacteria which can contaminate foods and cause illness. Pests also contaminate foods with hair, nesting materials, urine or faeces or even their bodies.

Pest Control.

In order for pests to present a hazard to foods, they must have:

  • walked, flown or been carried into the premises
  • found suitable places to live (and reproduce)
  • have access to warmth, suitable foods and in most cases, to water
  • pest control is founded upon managing these three areas by preventing access, denying harbourage and access to food and by destruction or eradication of any pests present.

Legal requirement
Chapter I 2

The layout, design, construction and size of food premises shall ...

Permit good food hygiene practices, including protection against cross contamination between and during operations, by ... external sources of contamination such as pests.

Guide to compliance

Exclusion or Preventing Access (Proofing) - Buildings must be in good repair and condition in order to restrict pest access and help to eliminate potential breeding sites.
If windows open directly into food preparation areas and are used for ventilation when food is being prepared, then they must be fitted with screens if there is a risk of infestation or of contamination.

In seeking to control pests it is necessary to know your enemy - their appearance, habits and tell - tale signs of their presence.

Gnawing Damage Gnawing Damage
Increased number of flies in the trap
The brown rat and house mouse are the main rodent pest species. Like all rodents they have a pair of incisor teeth in both upper and lower jaws that continue to grow throughout life. To keep them at the correct length they gnaw on most hard materials, so apart from damaging raw materials, packaging and finished foods they also cause damage to the fabric of buildings, to electric wiring and plumbing. A mouse can enter a gap as small as 9mm.
Their high reproductive ability can result in rapid increases in rodent populations and, under favourable conditions, rats and mice are capable of breeding throughout the year.
Being nocturnal creatures, cockroaches are seldom seen and consequently are not thought of as common British insects, but in recent years much attention has been focused on those species that share many of our buildings because of their real risk as carriers of disease organisms.
The Oriental cockroach is now the most common cockroach in the UK. It can live outdoors in rubbish tips and in drains during warmer parts of the year as well as deep-seated harbourages inside, such as cellars and inside cavity walls. The second most common is the smaller, light brown German cockroach, which prefers warm and humid areas such as below sink units and inside the warm motor compartments of refrigerators.
Pest themselves
House Fly
Flour Beetle
Pest Birds

There are many species of flies in the UK, but the most troublesome are house flies and blow flies, which are invariably contaminated with food-poisoning bacteria. Their feeding habits involve spitting on foods and they also transfer germs via their bodies. They can re-produce very rapidly and in warm weather the life cycle of egg, larva (maggot), to adult can be completed in just over a week!

The garden ant or common black ant lives both outdoors and indoors, nesting in cracked paving, under stones, in rockeries, among plant roots and in sub- floor cavities. Ants have an acute sense of smell and quickly find out and infest exposed foods of every kind.
Some beetles and moths are commonly associated with the stored or processed commodities in which they feed. Species of mite present similar infestation problems. Some live on specific foods to which they adapt, e.g. grain weevils on whole cereals, whilst others live on a wide variety of foods e.g., biscuit beetles. Damage is caused by both the larval and adult stages of beetles and mites, but by the larval stage only of moths.

These are mainly the feral pigeon, house sparrow and starling. They cause problems particularly in warehouses but also indirectly by:

  • providing nests which become breeding sites for many types of insects and mites, which may then move down into buildings
  • building nests which can cause blockages to drains and gutters and ventilation
  • spoiling foodstuffs with their droppings (which probably contains pathogens), feathers and also pecking open bagged goods
  • fouling and defacing buildings