By James Rodriguez, Western Territory Manager
What makes for a successful stored food pest treatment? Preparation! From large facilities to residential jobs, if you are lacking the right information and tools, the job can become an ongoing disaster. Misidentification, failure to dispose of contaminated food (or treatment of the product, in the case of a large food plant), lack of cooperation, inadequate follow-up, and lack of pheromone traps to monitor your program are just a few of the problems that will cause your program to come crashing down.
When it comes to identification and treatment strategies for stored food pests, industry publications and handbooks (including the recently published seventh edition of the Truman’s Guide to Pest Management Operations, which devotes Chapter 11 to this category) are invaluable resources. They’re especially useful when someone walks in your office, hands you an insect and asks, “What is this? It’s been in my kitchen for months.”
Passive monitoring devices such as glue boards and pheromone traps aren’t simply tools in your arsenal. They’re useful devices — and are critical in determining where the infestation originated, especially in the case of a large food plant or food storage facility. They can be used to help bring peace of mind to a homeowner after a treatment in a residential setting.
The key to using these devices successfully is to know what tolerance levels are acceptable for the environment, and assessing the potential for “loss” of commodity when it comes to large storage and processing facilities.
Additional tips for stored food pest jobs include:
- Use as many monitoring devices as possible. Inspect them regularly; don’t stick to the minimums.
- If your residential customers aren’t sure what’s “bugging” them, leave a few glue traps and ask them to put them where they see the infestation. Then return to collect, identify and give them your treatment options.
- Keep good records of your treatments. Include site maps and insect collection surveys. Review them periodically, so you can prevent them from reoccurring.
- Remove harborage areas where possible — cracks and crevices inside and even those outside. Consider exterior landscape modifications as needed.