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26 June 2019
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Maintain a pest free environment

No commercial, retail or industrial property can ever be guaranteed pest free. Modern building techniques, like using stud partitioning, breeze blocks, false flooring and main service voids, often lend themselves to creating the perfect living space for pests.

14 July
A mouse can get in through a gap the width of a pencil, cockroaches can be brought in on cardboard packaging, fleas may be picked up on public transport, pigeons will make the most of those wonderfully designed architectural ledges on the outsides of buildings – and flies will just fly in!
So what should the facilities manager be doing to limit the risk of pest infestations?

1⁄ Check your contract

Make sure that there is a pest control contract in place. Normal contracts for standard premises will include a minimum 
of eight inspections a year. Factories producing high-risk food or manufacturing pharmaceuticals will require more frequent visits. The inspections should include 
all common areas such as: 
plant rooms; basements; riser cupboards; car parks and landscaped areas – all of the areas where pests could harbour and reproduce undisturbed.
The contractor should belong to the British Pest Control Association, with all staff qualified to the RSPH Level Two in pest control. The company you choose should have written accreditations in health and safety and insurance.

2⁄ Proof your premises

Proofing against mice is never the be-all and end-all, but should be viewed as part of the overall integrated pest control system. Effective proofing will restrict rather than definitively bar the entrance to mice. Bristle stripping the bottom of doors, especially external doors and riser cupboard doors, should restrict movement and keep the rodents out of the office areas.
Checking the external air bricks and weep holes and putting specially designed covers on them, if necessary, should be another regular procedure. Bird spikes on ledges, as well as the girders beneath fire escapes and parapets, will stop pigeons messing on steps and walkways. Netting on lightwells prevents birds gaining access into sheltered areas at the back of buildings.
This is critical as a host of problems can be caused when pigeon numbers build up. 
They bring with them other 
pest problems, such as bird mite, 
fleas and flies. Fouling blocks gutters, downpipes and air-conditioning intakes.

3⁄  Fly control
Install fly-control units in kitchenettes, catering areas, bin rooms and delivery bays to catch the flies before they enter the building. Units available include the old-fashioned ‘sparking’ units and the glue-board units, which can be moved around affected offices, particularly in those that suffer from the Autumn cluster flies. In America, fly screens are fitted to windows as a matter of course. In the UK, it is still only catering premises. Fly screens are an excellent way of maintaining an air flow while restricting pest access.

4⁄ Cleanliness

When are the bins emptied? Foodstuffs in bins during the day and not emptied until the next morning feed pests throughout the night. Remains in a crisp packet are a tasty meal for mice and apple cores in a bin provide a nice breeding ground for fruit flies. Simple hygiene rules can restrict build up of unwanted pests. Staff often leave crackers in their bottom drawers over the weekend to find on a Monday morning they have been eaten. Foodstuffs should be kept in sealed containers.

5⁄  Infestations
Regular pest control inspections should keep a tight control over the rodent situation. Rodenticides will have been strategically placed around the property as a first line of defence. If rodents are appearing on the office floors, extend the placement of rodenticides or increase the visits from your pest control company.

The pest control contractor will give suitable advice and should work in conjunction with the FM – good pest control is a two-way street. Flies and other insects can be treated using ultra low-volume insecticide applicators during out-of-hours periods. Insect detectors can be installed discretely throughout buildings and regularly checked to monitor insect activity.

6⁄  Work with the contractor
Your contractor will complete a fully detailed report at the end of each inspection. Many pest control companies nowadays use digital reporting so the report is available within minutes of the service being carried out. The reports should be read and acknowledged, not just filed away. They could help the FM when a tenant makes a complaint about the mouse that has just run across her desk… Remember. forewarned is forearmed.

Case study

After a major pest control company tried for a year to sort out a mouse problem, the final straw came for a department store when a creature jumped from a suit pocket in front of 
a customer.
Cleankill was called in and found the problem was partly due to the building’s construction: six floors of suspended ceilings and a many cupboards stacked high with stock. Mice were living and breeding in the ceilings and cupboards unnoticed.

In the morning, staff would find trails of mice droppings around the store, including restaurant and food preparation areas. Mice were also living in redundant equipment.

Cleankill’s Mike Williamson said: “We were amazed to find a colony of mice that had made their home right in the middle of the kitchen. This was a serious health and safety risk, but also meant stock could have been damaged and contaminated.”

Paul Bates is managing director at Cleankill Pest Control