Facility Check-Up: Pest Management and Sanitation During COVID-19

The global COVID-19 pandemic brought operations for many businesses to an abrupt halt, and those that continued to operate likely experienced lower production or disrupted schedules. Balancing the delicate requirements of proper sanitation, and peace of mind for customers and employees, now constitutes an even larger part of resumed operations for many businesses. And for food processors, it’s more important than ever to reduce any gaps in the cleanliness of your facility.

Food Safety Starts With Pest Prevention

Pests are opportunistic, and slowed activity inside your facility can allow them to gain a stronghold in overlooked places. Reduced human activity can embolden pests to spread throughout a facility unchecked, which could have negative consequences for your productivity as operations return to normal. Resulting pest problems may require remediation and sanitation of affected areas—costing time and money that could be spent addressing other business needs.

In general, pests are always on the lookout for three things: food, water and shelter. Depending on the availability of these pest necessities, certain areas of your facility may be at higher risk than others. A few of the most common hot spots include:

Outside

  • Landscaping

  • Trash areas

  • Low spots and parking lots

  • Lighting fixtures

Entry points

  • Roof

  • Ventilation intakes

  • Windows and doors

  • Dock plates and dock doors

  • Receiving

  • Catch basins

Inside

  • Storage areas

  • Equipment

  • Break rooms

  • Clutter

  • Floor drains

  • Floor-wall junctions

It’s ideal to check these areas regularly to monitor for pest activity—especially if your facility has been unoccupied or under-occupied for long periods of time. This will help ensure a safe return to normal operations.

Focus on Sanitation

Sanitation and disinfection go hand in hand with pest control to help create a safe environment for employees. Many employees will understandably have concerns about their personal health and well-being while at work, which makes taking action and effectively communicating procedures important. You’ll also want to protect your products from any potential contamination. A key part of reducing cleanliness gaps in your facility is having a sanitation plan in place.

Here are a few ideas for implementing an effective sanitation routine:

  • Apply a product, like the powerful disinfectant used for Orkin® VitalClean™, that will kill 100% of bacteria and viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces and will also sanitize soft, porous surfaces.

  • Wipe down equipment and machinery to clear out any moisture build-up and food debris.

  • Make sure employees are washing their hands regularly and keeping breakrooms free of clutter.

  • Implement proper product storage practices (off the ground, on open-backed shelves and following first-in, first-out protocol).

  • Wipe up spills and leaks shortly after they occur.

  • Clean drains often to prevent food debris and other buildup.

Moving Forward

Getting back to business will take time, but following the advice outlined above will help you return to normal operations safely and effectively. You can also check out Orkin’s detailed guide to learn about the pest “hot spots” at your facility, including expert tips for exclusion, prevention and more.

Looking for expert help with pest management and sanitation at your facility? Get in touch with Orkin for a free consultation today.

Resources

More on Food & Beverage Processing

The Wright Group

Petco

What Can You Do to Fend Off Flies?

The Top 3 “Hot Spots” Inside Your Facility

Treatment 101: How Orkin’s Options Help You Stay Pest-Free

On Demand Audit Preparation

United States' Best Receive 2009 Gold Medal IPM Partner Awards

Tarrier Foods Corporation 2014

Orkin Wins Food Processing Readers’ Choice Award 2007

The Cheesecake Factory Bakery Incorporated

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