Five retail best practices to keep pests out of your store during the holiday season


Retail stores and outlets are naturally susceptible to pests given the amount of traffic that they experience on a daily basis.  While public interactions typically only happen in a customer facing retail-front, there are warehousing, storage, and receiving functions behind the scenes that can open the entire facility to increased risk.

There are a few different areas in which a retail facility might have exposure to pests. These simple tips provide pointers and techniques that can be employed during the busy holiday season, helping to reduce the risk of pest intrusion.

1) Consider appropriate storage:

Given the amount of inventory that gets shipped and received in preparation for the holiday season, keeping things orderly is a challenge.  Space is always a constraint, but it is important to take care when storing different types of commodities and goods. Big box, multi-purpose stores receive different types of foods, clothing, housewares, and many other types of products.  

  • Store food in clear plastic, air-tight containers that are have locking clips to keep pests from entering and destroying inventory.
  • Consider how you store clothing. Store clothing in plastic/shrink wrap, in the short-term, to prevent fabric destroying insects from damaging merchandise.
  • Finally, containers should be stored off the ground and 10-12 inches from the wall to prevent rodent entry. This allows for easier service by a pest management provider.

retail pest control

2) Organize and declutter:

There is high demand for many goods during the holiday season, so many retail stores have additional stock on hand, putting constraints on traditional storage spaces. Keeping inbound goods organized and storerooms decluttered can be a challenge.

  • Consider adding additional shelves or racks to keep inventory organized. This keeps inventory off the floor and away from insects and rodents.
  • Don’t mix non-perishable food items like baked goods and candy with housewares and other items. The last thing a customer wants is to bring home a pest after making a purchase.
  • Keep trash bins outside and away from inventory.  Rodents love to find their way into outside trash bins. When the bins are brought inside for convenience, so are the rodents.
  • Eliminate excess cardboard. Cardboard boxes provide ideal harborage and hiding places for pests. If they are no longer needed for storage, break down and remove them.

3) Make repairs:

One of the easiest ways pests get into facilities is through cracks, holes, and openings in the building structure.  

  • Carefully inspect drywall areas, to ensure forklifts or pallet jacks haven’t damaged walls.  
  • Plug areas around vents and other ductwork and repair drywall, to ensure insects and rodents don’t have easy passageway into your storage area or retail space.
  • Have your pest management provider perform an exterior inspection to look for cracks, gaps, or holes that pests may be able to exploit to get inside. Your pest management provider may also be able to help you repair any entry points.

4) Pay attention to automatic sliding doors and other entry points:

Insects can crawl or fly through the smallest of crevices. Rodents can also access the smallest of spaces – they are only limited to the size of their skulls – so an opening in a door or sliding door that doesn’t seal is the perfect entry point.

  • Install door sweeps on doors, ensure that sliding doors meet and completely seal.
  • Change out weather stripping on roll-up doors, such as dock doors, to ensure pests don’t enter in your place of business.
  • If flying insects are a problem, speak with your pest management provider about installing insect light traps in and around doors that frequently open to help reduce the chance of pest entry.

retail pest control

5) Practice good sanitation:

It goes without saying: keeping areas clean and free from garbage, spills, and debris is critical to managing pest activity.

  • Take special care to sweep and mop floors on a regular basis. Spills can lead to sweet, sticky items left on flooring, that can attract a variety of insects and rodents. Pay special attention to employee-use areas such as break rooms that may not often get the same attention as customer-facing areas.
  • Empty garbage at least three times a day to ensure that malodorous trash doesn’t attract flies and rodents to your facility.
  • Keep dumpster areas clean and have dumpsters serviced regularly to prevent build-up of organic debris that can attract pests. Remember, the closer pests get to your facility outside, the more the chances go up that they can get inside.


Following these simple tips can go a long way in the prevention and introduction of pests during the busy retail holiday season. For more information on how Rentokil Steritech can help keep your business pest-free, contact us today.


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