top 3 pests in food processing

The top 3 pests in food processing

Pests cost time and money – damaging stock, disrupting operations and posing major threats to health, safety and sanitary compliance. So, it is worth being prepared for the biggest pest threats to your food processing business.

Our research explored the impact of pests on food and beverage facilities. Working with the Centre for Economics and Business Research [Cebr] we discovered that the 3 most damaging pests from a cost and brand reputation point of view were stored product insects, rats and flies. Each one of these pests can affect your business in their own way, resulting in multiple negative outcomes and challenges for you to face.

Stored product insects (SPIs): The most expensive pests

Stored Product Insects (SPIs) – such as flour mites, beetles, weevils and bakery moths –  are the most expensive problem with the most significant impact on revenue.

Businesses are also concerned about the damage these cause to finished goods and raw materials.

60% of businesses reported annual revenue losses of between 1-9% as a result of SPI infestation, while 73% report feeling highly or moderately concerned about income loss.

Our recommendations

SPI elimination is not simply a case of throwing contaminated batches away. You need to treat the source of the infestation and ensure any eggs or larvae are also destroyed.

We recommend implementing a robust system of monitoring and control based on increased staff awareness of the signs of SPI infiltration, such as webbing produced by the larvae of warehouse and mill moths.

This will help avoid infestations from the outset – as well as prevent increased costs due to product delays and additional treatments which SPIs are the most likely to cause.

Top 3 pests in food processing

Flies: The most disruptive pests

Flies have the most impact on staff and can transmit up to 200 different pathogens, causing substantial risk to health and severe impact on businesses.

Fly infestations are the most likely to cause staff absences through illness (11%). A single infestation can lead to over 9 working days lost in a year – with businesses globally spending a yearly average of £6436.74 to tackle the problem.

Our recommendations

The challenge with flies is that these can transmit a multitude of different pathogens and it only takes a matter of seconds for these pathogens to transfer to food or processing equipment. Furthermore, contamination can also happen through different fly parts – not just flies landing on food.

To deal with this threat, we recommend that you use Insect Light Traps (ILTs) that are designed to attract, kill and encapsulate insects hygienically, eliminating the risk of contamination.

Innovative LED technology is also bringing a new wave of commercial fly control – with high attraction LED lamps offering an optimised fly catch rate, plus considerably reduced power consumption.

top 3 pests in food processing

Rats: The most destructive pests

Rats are the most destructive and rat infestations can reoccur just as often as SPI infestations, but the real problem is the damage that these cause to electrical equipment.

Over a quarter of those surveyed by CEBR reported damage to electrical equipment from rats. As a consequence, rats are also the most likely pest to cause production downtime, with food-focused businesses losing an average of 8 working days a year due to rat infestations.

Our recommendations

Rats are extremely hardy and versatile. They are also naturally suspicious of new objects placed in their environment, including bait stations.

The best way to deal with rats long term is prevention based on the removal of outside food and water sources, keeping doors closed when not in use, blocking gaps under doors with bristles strips and keeping food waste in secure containers.

Digital pest control solutions such as PestConnect, which provides you with 365, 24/7 monitoring and protection against rodents as well as providing you with an together with integrated online reporting tools to support audit compliance.

top 3 pests in food processing

Jack Lyons

I joined the Marketing and Innovation team at Rentokil in 2015, and my mind has quickly become accustomed to the weird and wonderful world of pests. Outside of work my main hobby is music, being a huge fan of bands such as Queen and Led Zeppelin as well as being an avid drummer.

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