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In recent years, there has been a progressive push towards the sustainable use of pesticides to prevent overuse and pest resistance. This has been driven by mounting consumer concern on the impact of pesticides, as well as increasingly stringent regulations, which is fuelling innovation within the non-toxic – also known as “non-tox” – pest management space.
Non-tox solutions are also gaining traction as they are ideal for use in sensitive food processing environments and have the potential to be more effective in eradicating pests compared to their chemical counterparts, providing a more suitable solution where food safety is of vital importance.
But what, exactly, are the solutions available to the food processing sector? In a rapidly evolving space, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the variety of solutions available and the business benefits you can achieve by using the latest innovations.
Stored product insects (SPIs) have long caused major economic damage to the food processing sector. Research commissioned by Rentokil from the Centre for Economics and Business Research for example, showed that 60% of food processing businesses reported annual revenue losses of between 1-9% as a result of SPI infestation.
Non-toxic heat-based treatments can provide an effective solution to this prominent challenge. Rentokil’s Entotherm solution, for example, can reach all areas of an infestation with a targeted application of heat.
Entotherm is highly valued by food processing businesses as it is completely chemical free and kills all life stages of SPIs – eliminating egg, larva and adult insects in a single treatment.
Food businesses that use non-tox heat treatments for SPIs also benefit from minimal disruption to their operations during the treatment process. In fact, production facilities can be reused immediately after treatment, with no residual side effects.
Today, low-tox pest management programmes for rodents can be enhanced with advanced digital technology. In the case of Rentokil’s PestConnect solution, connected rodent traps enable continuous remote monitoring of production facilities. This solution, comprised of monitoring devices and traps embedded with sensors, are ideal for protecting sensitive food environments that take a zero-tolerance approach to pests at all times.
Connected devices are a useful tool in the battle to keep rodents at bay as they enable pest controllers to monitor facilities 24/7. When pest activity is recorded, the devices raise the need for an immediate response. Early detection helps put a stop to infestations before they spread.
Data from Rentokil’s PestConnect devices is also made available through myRentokil, a digital pest management portal that provides customers with trend reporting, recommendations, interactive maps of their production facility, as well as charts and analytic tools to support proactive pest management programmes.
Common treatments for cockroaches over the years have included chemical sprays, aerosols and baits. Many however, if overused, are not compliant with current legislation. And cockroaches – ever adaptable – are becoming increasingly resistant to them.
Today, these limitations can be overcome with new non-toxic organic-compound solutions. At Rentokil, for example, we are developing a solution which uses fungal spores that attach to the external body surface of cockroaches. The spores germinate, bore through the outer shell, reaches the insects’ body cavity and where it then multiplies to kill the insect.
Organic-compound solutions are highly beneficial as the pores are passed from cockroach to cockroach by contact or cannibalism, spreading them further into the pest population and beyond the reach of conventional pesticide applications. Cockroaches also cannot become resistant to biopesticides, as they can to chemicals, making this kind of treatment much more sustainable and suitable for long term use.
Solutions like these are non-toxic to mammals and cause no disruption to production. They are also cost-effective, with only low volumes needed to eliminate a large infestation.
Standard hygiene practices are crucial for controlling flies. These methods include exclusion methods using screens and ensuring production areas and equipment are cleaned and inspected regularly. Today, things are moving further forward with the addition of energy efficient high-output LED insect light traps.
New innovations such as Lumnia Ultimate utilise LED technology which emits UV-A (the type of ultraviolet light that flies can see) making them vastly superior to conventional lamps. Optimised for best-in-class fly control catch rates, the Lumnia Ultimate unit is specifically designed for industrial use.
LED insect light traps are not only more effective but also offer average energy savings of up to 61% compared to UV insect light traps, providing a greener pest control solution to hygienically control flies.
Innovative low-tox solutions are being used increasingly by food processors to effectively eliminate pests, minimise disruption to business and meet compliance requirements. What’s also clear is that modern methods of low-tox pest management are quickly becoming just as effective as their chemical-based alternatives, whilst also being far more sustainable.
Download our new whitepaper to find out more about how non-toxic pest control solutions can support the food processing industry in the proactive monitoring and control of pests in the supply chain.
Our range of digital pest management solutions provide food businesses with new levels of efficiency and control