Stopping pest control services during the pandemic could be disastrous, says Julia Pittman
What could be the consequences of stopping your pest control services during the pandemic?
The British Pest Control Association is lobbying for key worker recognition – and already many FMs in the health and food manufacturing sectors consider pest controllers to be key workers. However, many other sectors are refusing pest controllers access to buildings, which could have long-term risks.
During the first week of lockdown, our technician visited a restaurant in central London and found two rats running around the kitchen. The restaurant had no history of rat activity but had been closed during lockdown.
Within days, rats had managed to find their way into the kitchens. Had this restaurant stopped pest control visits the site would have been unmanaged for weeks or months, and at risk of fire damage, building fabric damage, as well as disease once staff returned to the site.
Some FMs are stopping pest control services as staff work from home and building access is limited. But when people move out, pests move in. Deserted buildings and fewer pest management visits give a perfect environment for the escalation of pests.
Two things seem to be happening at the moment:
1. Reduced refuse collections are encouraging pests; and
2. In city centres, with less available food on the streets, pests are entering buildings looking for food.
When assessing risks, make sure that potential and increased pest activity is considered and grant access to pest control technicians. When the world returns to some sort of normality – and let’s hope it is soon – it will be important to get workplaces back up and running as quickly as possible. FMs can minimise health risks, building fabric damage risks and fire risks by continuing pest control.
Julia Pittman is director of Beaver Pest Control and on the executive board of the British Pest Control Association