As a business owner, no matter what industry you’re in, pests are not tolerated. Some industries have regulatory requirements to prevent pests (think healthcare and food processing), but pests can hurt any business’s reputation. So, of course, you know you have to deal with them, but do you always know the best way? There are different methods and strategies to handle pests but the two most prominent are general pest control and fumigation. Knowing the difference between the fumigation and local treatments like general pest control can help you decide the best strategy for your situation.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEST CONTROL & FUMIGATION:
General Pest Control – The term “general pest control” refers to the control or management of pests, often referring to urban and structural environments. Pests are extremely adaptable and are very good at overcoming routine pest management methods. As long as the pest control company you’re using is creative and keeping up with the most up-to-date technology, it’s a satisfactory method for handling pests. Treatments are used, but with general pest control, you’ll also get Integrated Pest Management strategies. These strategies include methods that prevent pests in the first place as well as using non-chemical methods as much as possible. General pest control is best used as a proactive system to prevent pests in businesses. However, general pest control becomes very challenging in dealing with very large or persistent infestations.
Fumigation – Fumigation involves completely eliminating pests by using gaseous materials – or fumigants, which get into every nook and cranny in a fumigated space. Unlike general pest control, fumigation isn’t usually used as a preventative method, although food processing plants can work it into their Food Safety Plan as a routine step for assurance that their inbound products do not bring in new introductions of pests. Because of its very high effectiveness, fumigation is more often used in single structures where either pests are multiplying quickly (or already have) or are in inaccessible areas (like inside wood). It cannot be used unless the entire structure can be closed down and emptied of any living beings. Fumigation also has some temperature minimums to keep in mind since it uses gases that are only active above certain temperatures.
WHICH TO USE:
Knowing when to use each method for your business is really something you should leave up to a pro. While you should always have a general pest control company on staff or contracted at your business, they should be knowledgeable enough to let you know when it’s time to bring in a fumigator. The pest control professional and fumigator should have no problem working together on the problem as they serve two different functions and, after all, both are for the good of the customer. While pest control professionals have their own regulatory requirements they must comply with, fumigation is a highly regulated industry since fumigants can be lethal if used incorrectly. Only a licensed and certified fumigator with the proper permitting and experience should be doing the job.
Fumigation may seem like a last resort to some property or business owners, but the more you know about it, the more you realize it can be used as a preventive method in some pest management systems. Here are just a few of the industries that could benefit from having a fumigation company in their list of vendors.
Multifamily – Many multifamily property owners will require new residents to have their belongings fumigated before moving in. This practice gives the property manager the peace of mind that no new pests will be introduced into their building. Property managers should have a general pest control company coming in to do routine checks (and better yet if they can bring in a canine bed bug sniffing team) but using pod-fumigations for personal belongings prior to move-in can go a long way in keeping pests out.
Food Processing – As we mentioned before, there is zero tolerance when it comes to pests in the food processing industry; this is actually a regulatory requirement. Any good Sanitarian or QA Manager knows the steps in their Food Safety Plan that include pest prevention pre-requisite programs. Adding inbound container fumigation as a Preventive Control or part of the Supplier Verification programs will provide not only the Plant Manager with confidence and peace of mind, but it can be used to show vendors, customers, auditors, and upper management that you are serious about food safety.
Imports/Exports – Sometimes you have no choice whether or not you should fumigate – like when it comes to some specifically listed commodities you’re importing into the country or exporting out to another. The USDA-APHIS and outside country regulators have their own set of Quarantine Pre-Shipment requirements depending on where the commodity is coming from and/or going to. The right fumigation company will be able to accommodate no matter what the rules are and should be able to help you sift through the cumbersome compliance requirements.
When it comes right down to it, every business should have regular visits from a general pest control company. Some industries should have a fumigation company coming in often as well. There are also scenarios where one will fit the specific needs better than the other. Again, the pros know and can help guide you in the decision-making process. Find a trustworthy general pest control company as well as a trustworthy fumigation company. When you trust their knowledge and expertise, you can feel confident taking their recommendations on which is needed when.