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Stopping pests and saving your stock

How do you prevent pests from ruining your business?

When companies store their stock in warehouses, they need to safeguard against a number of risks, including accidents, criminal activity – and stored product pests.

Any pest infestation in a warehouse, whether it's storing food products or fashion items, can represent millions of dollars of damage to a company’s stock, business continuity and even reputation.

The cost of infestation

According to a Rentokil survey, pest infestations resulted in an estimated increase of $773 million in operating costs across Australia in 2014. The overall decrease to revenue was estimated more than $1.69 billion due to pest incidents.

There is a variety of pests that can pose a problem for businesses, such as insects like weevils, beetles and moths, rodents that will gnaw through everything they can get their teeth into, and even birds, which might make their nests in warehouses and cause sanitation problems for stock and employees.

Businesses must take steps to protect warehouse stock against stored product pests. There are various forms of insurance to help companies manage crises, including employers’ liability, public liability and product liability. Buildings and their contents can be insured against damage and business interruption insurance covers a company for the trade they lose when they can’t fulfil orders.

Prevention is better than cure

But the best policy for any company is to try to prevent infestations – just as they protect their warehouses against fire and floods.

The first step is to ensure good hygiene policies are in place throughout the warehouse. Clean up food spills and keep food off the warehouse floor, and provide employees with a break room separated from storage areas.

Keeping the doors closed from the break room to the warehouse is paramount, but so is closing all doors on the premises when not in use, to help limit the spread of any contamination.

Where stock has been left undisturbed for a long time, take care when it's finally moved. Inspect the stock for signs of infestation, or better yet, clear unwanted items out of the warehouse as soon as possible, instead of leaving them as a potential home for pests.

Know your pests

Companies also need to research the type and variety of pests that might be attracted to their stock. Food beetles are attracted to light, so keeping a well-lit warehouse isn’t a good idea. Ambient temperature and lighting can be an attraction or a deterrent, so see if you can take simple steps to scare off your particular number one pest.

Even with good policies in place, infestations can happen. Stored product pests can stow away on stock transported from other locations – or you can simply be unlucky. When an infestation does happen, it’s important to try to identify the source. If it is a fault in the premises, take steps to redress it.

If the infestation has come in from somewhere else, make sure all warehouses in contact with the source are inspected for pests.

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Published
16th January 2018
Author
Kathryn Bush, Research & Innovation, Rentokil
Categories
Own Time, Take Control
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