Industry News

Inspections: who needs them, and why are they necessary?

Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.

Inspecting for pests came naturally to me at a very young age. I still feel the same excitement when I was three years old as I do when I find something now, almost 75 years later. Everyone should be so lucky as to maintain a piece of their childhood in their life.

However, I am much better at inspecting now because I know more about where and how to look for pests, based on the biology of what I am searching for. Hopefully I can get you excited about inspections too by showing how I typically conduct a pest inspection.

Inspections do not eliminate or repel pests, but they are a necessary step in determining the following:

  1. If pest proofing is needed
  2. If sanitation practices are up to par
  3. If any new environmental factors or procedures that were recently implemented in the account affected pest management procedures
  4. If you need to apply any pesticides (in some situations, the product label may mandate an inspection prior to an application)
  5. If your last treatment was successful in eliminating a previous pest situation

 

Consider the following tips during your inspection planning process:

  • Ask relevant questions to people who work or live in the account area. For example, the first person who gets there in the morning and turns on the lights is most likely to spot pests like cockroaches or rodents.
  • Don’t create a pest problem during your inspection. I have observed some inspectors that have punched holes in bags of food products to take samples for analyses. Then they sloppily taped the openings with masking tape that became loose within hours. The food product eventually became vulnerable to insect infestations.
  • Speak to decision-makers on sensitive accounts before taking certain actions. For example, walking into a culture room of a brewery with contaminated shoes or clothes can destroy the yeast culture during the beer-developing process.
  • Monitors, such as pheromones or sticky traps, can help maximize the efficiency of an inspection. While you can only be on-site for a relatively short amount of time, these devices can work around the clock.
  • A good inspector is not just an inspector: they must also be a problem solver. You may have to work alongside inspectors that work for the health department, or other officials at the local, state or federal level. This will require collaboration to determine which party is in charge of dealing with and reporting the issues at hand.

 

In the near future, I will cover safety tools and techniques for controlling different insects and other urban pests, and how to think like the pest you are trying to find.

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