Pest control and the risks of pests have been put under the microscope following the recent tragic events at a Scottish hospital. In this article, Nikki Munro, Pest Control Surveyor for Scotland at MPCL Ltd, advises how Scotland’s businesses can protect themselves from the dangers of pests.
What are the risks of pests?
Many pests, including birds and rodents, carry disease that can harm people and contaminate goods. Ensuring your premises is pest-free can help ensure the health, hygiene and wellbeing of employees and visitors.
Having a pest problem can result in brand or reputational damage, and bad news can spread quickly by social media, leading to loss of trade or even business closure.
Finally, if you are in the food & beverage industry, you must adhere to food safety legislation. So, it is imperative your pest control manager understands and complies with relevant auditing standards. Failure to do so could result in significant fines and can impact production.
What can businesses do to reduce their pest risk?
The first step is to safeguard your premises; by limiting a pest’s ability to enter or nest around your building you will greatly reduce your risk. This may require minor building repair works or the installation of barriers such as fly screens, door brush strips or bird netting. This is known as pest proofing and is best carried out by a professional pest control company.
The second step is to ensure you have good housekeeping standards, to remove any potential food sources.
So, keep your building clean, ensure your waste is managed effectively and if you have external areas; make sure they are well maintained.
What are the most common pests in Scotland?
The most common pests in Scotland are rats, mice and garden ants, but the risks vary by the season. Summer is a busy time for gulls and insects, Autumn for wasps and Winter for rodents.
How much does it cost?
The cost of pest control varies by provider and the requirements of your business. Many companies will offer one-off proofing work along with a contract of several inspections per year. Larger providers, such as MPCL, may be able to offer a free pest risk assessment of your business before you commit.
What should I look for in a pest control provider?
Qualified – You should look for a company that has the necessary accreditations and British Pest Control Association (BPCA) membership. You may also find companies that are ISO registered, comply to health & safety industry standards and quickly adhere to new legislation – this may be essential for larger businesses and certain industries in Scotland.
You should also enquire if the provider complies with CRRU, a legislation designed to protect other wildlife through the reduced use of rodenticide.
A providers’ pest control officers should be experienced, knowledgeable and customer-focused.
Geographical Coverage – This is important in locations such as Inverness and the Scottish Borders. If you have multiple sites, it would make sense to partner with a pest control company that can service all premises for a consistent approach.
Capability – Are they able to offer a wide range of services and protection against any pests you may face? Some pests and applications require specific equipment or specially trained teams which may not be available to all pest providers.
If a pest problem is critical for your business, select a provider who can offer a reactive service and 24/7/365 availability.
Innovation – Larger pest control providers, such as MPCL, are able to offer online reporting, drone surveys and introduce new pest control methods, designed to deliver more effective pest management.
What does the future of pest control look like?
There is a growing trend towards digital pest control products, such as cloud-enabled traps, sensors and cameras to monitor pest activity. These products can enable the technician to understand your risk better and deliver highly targeted pest control solutions.
Online reporting enables pest control providers to share greater insights with customers, analyse trends and respond quicker to emerging issues. MPCL’s ‘PestAlert’ portal provides a record of all pest control visit reports, health & safety documentation and outstanding actions.