Your favorite restaurant has a dirty little secret.
The same secret as your grocery store, your gym, your dentist, your doctor’s office, and even your child’s school.
They all use pest control.
We like to think the places we frequent are clean, safe, and pest-free. And more than likely, they are. But these places are clean and safe because they are following proper safety guidelines.
And a huge part of public health and food safety is keeping pests under control.
Where There is Food, There Will Be Pests
We call them pests for a reason. Any insect or small animal that carries diseases or causes harm is considered a pest. It’s just a fact of life. Where there is food, there will be pests. That means that food-service industries have to be extra vigilant to keep high food-safety standards.
Those creatures we consider “pests” have their place in our ecosystem, but when we allow them to coexist with humans and their food sources, they can have devastating effects. The reason is that bugs and rodents often carry viruses, disease-causing bacteria, and a host of microorganisms that cause illness, chronic disease, or food poisoning.
When these creatures sneak into our factories, our schools, our businesses, and our homes, they are going to head straight to the food sources. The same food sources that will eventually reach our tables. If our food has unknowingly been contaminated, we can be in for trouble.
Pests in the Pacific Northwest
In the Pacific Northwest, there are many pests that PURCOR treats for. These can have damaging effects on people, homes, and equipment.
These little (sometimes not-so-little) reddish-brown creatures scuttling out of sight fill us with horror. And for good reason. Cockroaches have a knack for surviving in almost any condition, hiding in small cracks and crevices, and reproducing at an alarming rate.
Their favorite hangouts around garbage and sewage mean they’re picking up germs and debris that we don’t want on food. And to add ick to ugh, they’ve been found to carry 6 different parasitic worms, 7 different disease-causing pathogens, and at least 33 kinds of bacteria.
During the summer, that annoying whine in our ear, followed by itchy bumps is pretty familiar. Growing up, you probably just accepted it as a fact of living a life outdoors. But over the last decade or so, we’ve begun to see local mosquitoes carrying more dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus and Dengue fever. It’s never been more important to keep this population under control.
Mice, rats, and voles are our most common rodents. When you have an infestation you’ll find evidence of their droppings near water and food sources. They can squeeze through surprisingly small spaces. If you have any sort of opening, they’ll find it.
These guys have been known to carry and spread more than 35 diseases through their feces, urine, fur, saliva, or bites. And because they can and will gnaw through anything, they often cause hard-to-find damage to equipment and wiring.
Ants are probably one of the biggest (tiny) problems food facilities have to deal with. They’re small, they’re sneaky, they’re excellent survivalists, and there is never just one.
Besides the fact that no one wants to see trails of these annoying creepy-crawlies in their home or business, ants trail through and over all kinds of disgusting things, potentially picking up germs and pathogens as they go.
You generally only have to worry about fleas on your pets. And if you work with your veterinarian to prevent and treat for fleas, it’s usually not a problem. But sometimes an infestation can sneak up, leaving you scratching as much as your dog.
It’s annoying, icky, and can also be a health hazard. You see, fleas poop when they feed, meaning their feces are getting into the blood-stream. And some fleas carry dangerous diseases like typhus and the plague (rare, but still happens). Rodents are also carriers of fleas, so this is an added incentive to keep their population under control.
Although termites don’t carry disease, they cause big problems for your property and equipment. Out in nature, termites are helpful because they break down dead trees that could cause fire issues.
But in man-made structures, it’s estimated that they cause more than $2 billion of damage a year in the United States. They eat wood, paper, cardboard, and have even been known to munch through electrical wires in their search for food.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” used to be just a cute little expression. But unfortunately, bed bugs are the comeback kid of the pest world. They’re tough to get rid of and spread quickly.
Right now, there are no known diseases, but their bites cause itchy, red bumps and a serious case of heebie-geebies. But probably their biggest hazard is the irreparable damage they can to the reputation of hospitality businesses
Why is Pest Control Essential for Our Well-Being?
Food safety is the biggest reason pest control is essential. The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illness. And of those people, around 128,000 are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 die. This is why food safety standards are so incredibly high. Keeping pests away from food sources saves lives.
But there is another hazard pests cause to our food sources. If left to breed out of control, pests can and will destroy crop production. That means crucial food sources will be gone before they even have a chance to make it to a factory, your favorite restaurant, or your grocery store.
On a more personal level, we’ve gotten used to a certain standard of cleanliness in the U.S. If you own a business, one cockroach or mouse sighting by a customer can permanently damage the reputation of your establishment. And one failed inspection may lead to fines, licensing problems, or even shut you down for good.
Keeping pest infestations under control is vital for protecting the health and welfare of your family, your friends, your customers, and ultimately for the safety of our communities. Prevention is always your best option, but PURCOR is just a call away to help keep your home and business safe. Contact us today!