Pest issues can arise in foodservice establishments for a variety of reasons, from incoming shipments and landscaping to sanitation and facility maintenance. That’s a lot of ground to cover for one person, so the most successful pest control programs involve a team approach.
Your employees are the eyes and ears of your establishment and can play an important role in detecting early signs of pest activity. Everyone from your servers and chefs to your hostesses can play a role in keeping an eye out for signs of pests. But they won’t know how to help without a basic understanding of your pest control program and the role they play in it.
Here are several steps to help get your entire team involved in your pest control program.
Host a training session
Work with your pest management provider to conduct an on-site training session. Many pest control providers offer complimentary training sessions and may even have tip sheets and checklists to share with your team. Teach your employees about pest identification and behavior, conditions that attract pests and best practices for prevention and ongoing maintenance.
Develop a pest sighting protocol
Establish a pest sighting protocol that outlines what steps to take if they detect a pest problem and the key personnel they should notify. Consider including the following steps in your pest sighting protocol:
- Catch any pest seen around the facility so your pest management professional can identify the type of pest.
- Document when and where the pest was seen.
- Help the pest management professional determine how the pest gained access.
Consider offering an incentive to employees who find and/or report pests. It may inspire them to play a more active role.
Make sure your employees have a clear understanding of the role they play in your pest control program. Consider assigning each employee a specific pest management role based on their existing daily responsibilities. Assigning roles will not only help avoid confusion, but encourage involvement as well.
In addition to assigning roles, remind employees that they are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Poorly maintained employee lockers or break rooms can also cause pest issues.
When you keep an open line of communication, it’s easier for everyone to be on the same page. Keep employees in the loop about proactive pest management initiatives and upcoming pesticide applications. Effective communication builds trust; understanding and can help keep your pest management decisions proactive, rather than reactive.
Employee participation is an important component of any successful pest control program. Equip your team with the knowledge they need, empower them to make an impact and continue to reinforce that pest control is a priority.
Jennifer Brumfield is an entomologist and Training and Technical Specialist for Western Pest Services, a New-Jersey based pest management company serving residential and commercial customers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Learn more about Western by visiting www.westernpest.com.