It’s more important than ever to be protected professionally when it comes to pest control in the facilities management sector.
Supporting the provision of a safe and healthy facility, the maintenance of a welcoming and attractive environment and the protection of an organisation’s reputation, it’s a core element of a well-managed environment.
A new generation of pest
Pest control is increasingly on the radar within both public and private sector environments, particularly in light of a recent report which has revealed the presence of a new generation of rats carrying a genetic mutation, making them resistant to conventional poison.
A study by the University of Reading, commissioned by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU), has identified “the massive extent of L120Q resistance across the whole of central southern England.”
It also reports that rats without the genetic mutation are being killed off by poison, so the resistant species are taking their place, leaving a growing population of resistant pure-breds.
According to BPCA, with their numbers expanding, there could be a significant risk to public health if their population is left unchecked, in both urban and rural environments.
The Association says the spread has been accelerated by the application of rodenticides, by amateurs carrying out treatments themselves, or employing an unqualified individual to try to resolve the problem.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager, said: “The clear message is that, to be effective in tackling this issue, people should not attempt to self-treat rats.
“Professional use only rodenticides are often more successful, but most are subject to strict legislation, so it has become more important than ever before to make sure infestations are treated by experts.
“Rats must be dealt with by those with the skills required to understand rodent behaviour and their habitat, and who know how to treat any particular strain.
“FMs should be aware of the situation and have the knowledge in place so they can advise clients on the right approach to take to tackle the issue.
“By employing a member company through the BPCA referral service, companies can be sure they’re using a qualified technician who is able to purchase and apply relevant products that can tackle such issues of resistance.
“We’ve established strict criteria to ensure the professionalism of our members so companies carrying our logo will carry out safe, effective and legal treatments.”
More details of the BPCA referral service can be found at bpca.org.uk/find
A big price to pay
There’s also a price to pay if effective compliance is not adhered to. Pest control should be considered on quality rather than price, particularly as the fine for household companies are now in hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands – and that’s not including the damage to the company’s reputation.
A search online brings up a list of organisation after organisation fined for pest activity in their business – leaving a lasting, unwelcome impression that can be difficult to move away from. Social media further amplifies the stories far and wide, something else for FMs to bear in mind when looking to protect their clients’ interests.
Dee Ward Thompson added: “Pest control is often viewed as a reactive issue. People spot a rat or come across a wasps’ nest and a call is made for help.
“But what if it is a customer seeing a rat in a hotel’s leisure facilities, a mouse scurrying across a restaurant – or a child is stung by a swarm of wasps. Clearly a responsible organisation with pride in its reputation would view a reactive call in such scenarios as too little too late.
“Organisations who regard pest control as a peripheral matter or an unnecessary expense are taking a massive risk. But with BPCA members ticking all boxes to protect UK organisations from the issue, there is no excuse for cutting corners.”
The most effective method to ensure protection and compliance is to introduce a maintenance cycle programme, with regular, targeted activity undertaken by a BPCA member.
The pest control maintenance cycle proposal slots into an organisation’s scheduled operations to offer value and peace of mind, and that FMs have the reassurance their sites are protected, professionally.
A large part of pest prevention is thinking ahead and identifying potential causes and entry points before infestations occur.
A professional contractor involved in a routine maintenance cycle programme will build a complete picture of effective preventative controls which can be introduced.
This will include inspecting premises on a routine basis and reporting on the status of pest infestation, organising and undertaking a programme of treatments, as well as using pest control equipment or chemicals to control and eliminate target pests.
The contractor will also report on all inspections, detailing the programme of treatments and the chemicals used on the premises to maintain health and safety.
Opening up new avenues for the FM sector
In March, BPCA will be signposting the FM industry to the options available to diversify their skillset at a key national event.
PPC Live, BPCA’s major exhibition and conference, provides a wealth of information for those in facilities management looking to find out more about expanding their services to include professional pest control.
The one-day event, taking place on Wednesday, 14 March at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, looks at a wide-range of issues, including the recent development of a pest technician apprenticeship scheme, which could be of significant value to the FM industry.
Representatives will be on hand to talk to levy payers and non-levy payers about how they can train up their own professional pest controllers in-house.
A presentation on the apprenticeship scheme will be delivered by Martin Rose-King, Head of Apprentice Employer Development Group and Karen Dawes, BPCA’s Training Development Manager at 2pm, in addition to a feature seminar on resistance, led by Clive Boase, at 2.45pm. All pre-registered guests get a free breakfast bap and hot drink on arrival, so it’s well worth taking the time to register before heading to the event.
More details can be found at bpca.org.uk/Upcoming-Events