The saying “plan your work and work your plan” strongly applies to pest management. To create and execute a successful pest management plan, it must be appropriate for the specific pest, and the plan must be followed properly. We know that the majority of pest management plan shortcomings are caused by an inaccurate initial risk assessment, misalignment of expectations, changes in the facility that the plan does not account for or adapt to, and not having the right tools or people to implement the plan. When these occur, pests invade and can cause the plan to unravel.
Recovering from a poor pest management plan can be a daunting task for both the client and the pest management professional (PMP). Oftentimes, the only way to recover is to execute a new risk assessment. It’s important to remember, this new assessment must be performed by a PMP who knows the food industry, can critically assess the immediate and long-term pest risks, and develop a plan that works toward mitigation. Once you have your expert, follow these steps for a proper site risk assessment:
- Data dive: Performing a thorough and correct site risk assessment is vital in developing a new, successful pest management plan. When a client is recovering from a poor plan, PMPs must understand how things failed. Necessary material to review may include the previous plan’s service and audit reports, trends, facility changes, facility’s environment, and discussions with key members of the client team.
- On-site assessment: In addition to the data dive, an on-site assessment is equally as necessary. On-site assessments help determine how a facility handles risks, as risk assessments are never universal. Some differences may include age and structural soundness of the facility, product flow, sanitation processes, and more.
- Identifying solutions: After the risk assessment has been completed and all risks are identified, the next item on the checklist is offering solutions to mitigate the identified risks. A common mistake PMPs make is proposing solutions included in the previous, failed pest management plan. It’s the PMP’s job to find new, more appropriate solutions and discontinue the “same old thing.”
After completing a thorough risk assessment, PMPs should develop a strong pest management program for the client. The program should address as many concerns identified in the risk assessment as possible. It should also have a team behind it. While the PMP will be at the forefront of the pest management program’s execution, when recovering from a poor pest management program, an extra set of trained eyes is invaluable.
While many think the tough part is over, one of the most important responsibilities of a PMP is to perform annual facility assessments and quality audits on their food accounts. This annual evaluation will help a PMP identify weaknesses to active plans and avoid worsening the pest risk or even causing another poor pest management plan.
Read more about how to recover from a poor pest management plan from McCloud Services.
BERRY is a training manager for McCloud Pest Management Solutions, South Elgin, Ill. She is a Board Certified Entomologist, ServSafe certified and instructor and proctor for the National Restaurant Association and is certified in HACCP. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in grain science from Kansas State University.