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The company has long experience in tackling warehouse pests

The company has long experience in tackling warehouse pests



Perils in the warehouse

Mohammad Arif Hussain, entomologist at Saudi Arabia’s Masa, offers sound advice to get the better of unwelcome creatures domiciled in warehouses

December 2015

The potential for pest-related damage in warehouses storing contraceptives is a worldwide concern.

Given the pervasiveness of the problem, the development of universally applicable pesticide use guidelines holds great appeal. Unfortunately, broadly based pest management recommendations would be superficial at best and would not adequately address prevention simply because each situation may have its own specific issues.

General recommendations for pesticide use in contraceptive warehouses would be inadequate because of several reasons including that there is little available information,  there is a wide range of warehouse conditions, types of pests, warehouse structures, stored products, and environmental conditions (for example geographic locations); every country or region of the world has insects specific to its area, and different insects respond differently to chemical pesticides; and most countries have some restrictions on pesticide products, and generally pesticides must be registered by a government regulatory body in order to be used.

Additionally, routine management of insects and rodents through chemical pesticides (insecticides and rodenticides) can pose risks not only to the products being stored in warehouses, but also to the people using the pesticides, people nearby, and the surrounding environment. Ideally, local pest management specialists, entomologists, or government agencies should be consulted about appropriate and safe pesticides to use in warehouses where contraceptive products are stored.

Pests cannot be “controlled,” but they can be “managed.” And not all pests harm stored products. In keeping with the notion of pest “control,” warehouse staff may believe that the best way to solve a pest problem is by spraying a broad-spectrum chemical at regular intervals throughout the year. In the long term, this “100 per cent chemical solution to pest problems” could only create problems deleterious to human and environmental health. Moreover, a 100 per cent chemical solution may not address the cause of the pest problem and therefore may not lead to a preventive solution. As a result of chemical overuse, 595 species of the most economically important insects (those that cause the most damage) are resistant to one or more types of chemicals, a large percentage of which are used in developing countries. Resistance to rodenticides is also very high.

In dealing with pest problems, the use of local resources should not be overlooked. It may be economically feasible to explore traditional methods for dealing with pest problems in residential settings and apply those techniques in the warehouse. In addition to local resources, there is an increasing number of innovative, non-toxic methods for dealing with pests that can be employed.

The first step in establishing guidelines for the use of pesticides in contraceptive warehouses is to develop an integrated pest management strategy. An integrated pest management approach to solving pest problems involves implementing a series of steps, with chemicals used only as a last resort. This approach can save money (since pesticides are often expensive) as well as protect human and environmental health. An important aspect of an integrated pest management strategy is to identify the causes of pest infestation as part of developing the solutions. Prevention is the principal objective.

If pests are present in the warehouse, development of an integrated pest management strategy should involve the following steps: identifying the pests; determining whether they pose a significant problem; identifying conditions that may enable the pests to thrive in the warehouse, and identifying possible solutions, taking into account the time of year, life stage of the pests (some life stages are not vulnerable to certain pesticides or non-chemical actions) and the settings and site conditions such as whether the warehouse is adjacent to water sources or near places where children are  present.

 

PREVENTION

A Masa technician at work

A Masa technician at work

Good warehouse management and maintenance practices serve to reduce the risk of pest infestation. Pest prevention and control is now an integral part of sanitation for most logistics service providers – and for good reason. Contamination of raw materials and products by pest droppings, webbing and skin casts can lead to loss of goods worth millions of dollars annually.

Multiple entry points make logistics facilities inherently vulnerable to pests, a problem exacerbated by continuous deliveries and storage of merchandise, frequent opening and closing of overhead doors, and structural defects that provide harborage sites. The risk is increased when different product groups are stored together, allowing pests to get into non-food goods and spread further.

To meet this special challenge, the Masa Establishment for Pest Extermination, Maintenance and Contracting provides its highly trained professionals with a wealth of technical expertise. These experts have also been thoroughly trained to understand the unique needs of all areas in the warehousing and logistics industry.

It would be worth one’s while to consider the consequences of pests infestation. These could be summed up as: 

• Damage to brand and reputation, resulting in a loss of customer trust
• Customer complaints and compensation claims
• Termination of contracts leading to revenue losses
• Prosecution for non-compliance with applicable laws
• Increased cost of delayed treatment

As carriers of various bacterial and viral pathogens, rats and mice pose a serious hazard for the logistics and warehousing industry. Signs that infestation is occurring include gnawing, smudges of excrement, damage to merchandise and shredded nesting material.

 

MEASURES TO TAKE

Masa recommends identifying structural weaknesses and closing off access points such as joints, cracks or holes in walls, ceilings and doors. Strategically placed bait around the site exterior will also help prevent an influx of rodents and infestation of stored products in the future. Monitoring solutions should be implemented to ensure the early detection of any infestation in known problem areas such as cold storages for food and non-food products. In this way, specific control measures will only be needed for acute infestations.

Food and textiles stored in warehouses are a tempting source of food for many uninvited guests. These include food and textile moths, cheese, flour, storage and cocoa mites; and fur, rice grain, corn and biscuit beetles. Contamination of stored goods with their feces, tissue, shed skin and feeding damage can cause enormous financial loss.

In addition, infestation often creates heat and humidity, the perfect breeding ground for dangerous mold spores. It is vital to act quickly at the first signs of an infestation to prevent it from spreading rapidly.

Crawling insects that pose a threat include the German or Oriental cockroach, ants, crickets, beetles, spiders, woodlice, earwigs and dust mites who find warehouses a welcoming environment for breeding.

Depending on the material being stored — food (raw materials), textiles, animal feed, tobacco and so on — other pests could also be present.

Bird pests, especially sparrows and pigeons, leave no stone unturned in their search for food and can penetrate the interior of warehouses and storage rooms, contaminating raw materials and merchandise.

Constantly opening and closing roller shutters in loading docks and materials handling areas, as well as nearby waste containers, make these areas highly attractive to birds.

Masa is the largest amongst pest control companies in Saudi Arabia with 12 branches and has gained a strong foothold in the pest control industry thanks to strictly observing and maintaining service standards of the highest quality. The company has a proven track record after 35 years’ experience in pest control operations. It has been immensely successful in delivering quality and effective results. The solutions it offers are in compliance with pest control legislation.




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