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5 Pest-Prone Areas in Your Retail Store

 In Blog, Commercial Pest Control

5 Pest-Prone Areas in Your Retail Store

Pests need only three things to survive, namely food, water, and shelter, and retail stores offer plenty of each. The large size of stores, intense customer traffic, and regular food delivery offer insects and rodents numerous opportunities to find their way inside a store and contaminate products. Once inside, they destroy not only the physical products they contaminate, but also the company’s reputation and customer loyalty. Here are the five areas in your retail store most likely to be infested by insect pests:

1. Firewood Supply

According to a 2012 study, untreated firewood sold in retail stores is a common source of destructive insects and pathogens. 52% of firewood sold in retail locations in 18 U.S. states was brought from sources outside the purchase state, and 50% showed proof of insect contamination. The pine and mixed-conifer bundles typically found in grocery stores, department stores, supermarkets, and gas stations were shown to have the highest number of insects. Common invaders include:

  • Bark and ambrosia beetles typically found in freshly-cut wood, which can be found under the bark, in irregular tunnels, and inside the wood
  • Wood borers, especially long-horned beetles and metallic wood borers, which often end up in firewood bundles as the trees they feed on are harvested and milled into lumber
  • Carpenter ants, which typically invade wood that hasn’t been allowed to dry properly or has been lying on the ground for a prolonged period

2. Stored Product Section

The stored food section is another hot spot for insect pests. Nearly all dried food products are exposed to infestation, including cereals (flour, cornmeal, rice, spaghetti, cake mix), seeds, nuts, chocolate, spices, tea, dried fruits, and cured meats. Birdseed, pet food, ornamental corn, and dried flowers are the non-food items most exposed to insect contamination. Although opened packages are more likely to become infested, insects are in many cases capable of penetrating cardboard, plastic, cellophane, and paper packages. Here are the usual culprits:

  • Indian meal moths, which are easily identified by the silk webbing they leave on the surface of the product they feed on
  • Sawtoothed grain beetles, which despite their larger size, are rarely noticed by consumers
  • Beetles (drugstore and cigarette species), which favor paper products, tobacco products, grains, dried flowers, and even books

3. Employee break areas

A great percentage of the efforts to eradicate pests in retail facilities are focused on the loading docks and incoming goods areas, but sometimes pest infestations are an inside job. According to Pest Control Technology, the primary way that German cockroaches get introduced is through employee belongings.

The locker rooms and break room areas are already at high risk of infestation due to the various food sources readily available, including spillages and finished food products improperly stored. However, the risk of infestation increases as employees living in infested homes often bring cockroaches in on their clothes and personal belongings. To decrease the risk of potential infestations, these areas must be kept clean and monitored at all times. Food should not be stored in open containers, and employee clothing and belongings should be stored separately from work uniforms and equipment.

4. Dumpsters and trash areas

5 Pest-Prone Areas in Your Retail Store

Unsurprisingly, dumpsters and surrounding areas are highly attractive to a wide variety of pests, especially during the warm season.  Decaying food and waste odors serve as pest magnets for a variety of insects and rodents, including flies, rats, mice, ants, bees, wasps, and cockroaches. Store managers can reduce pest activity in these areas by introducing the following measures:

  • Use only heavy-duty plastic bags to store food wastes
  • The top of the garbage bags should be properly sealed to deny the entry of pests inside the bags once placed in the dumpster
  • Dumpsters should be regularly cleaned of residue and spillages to prevent yellow jackets and wasps
  • The ground area surrounding the dumpsters should be regularly washed and cleaned of residues
  • The dumpsters should not be located too close to the store doors in order to prevent pests that visit them to find their way inside the facility

5. Loading docks

Commercial Pest Control Services Toronto

Loading docks and storage facilities are one of the main entry points of pests inside a retail facility. Raw food items and packaging materials are often typical harborage sites; dust, grease, warmth, and moisture are factors that facilitate the spreading of pests throughout the area. Sometimes, even the lighting used on the loading docks may serve as an attractant for pests. In large part, managing warehouse pests (rats, mice, stored product pests, cockroaches, birds) has to do with sanitation and effective pest control management. Working with a pest control professional who will make sure control practices are kept up to date will safeguard your stock and minimize pest damage.

To keep your clients, employees, and business safe and thriving, you should never ignore the importance of sound pest control practices in your retail store. The investment in effective pest control services is nothing compared to the thousands of dollars in losses and damaged reputation you risk by ignoring the presence of destructive pests inside your facility. Call an experienced pest control company right away to reduce pest damage to a minimum.


About the Author

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid garden

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