You’re bound to have at least one unwanted pest when you’re receiving daily shipments, dealing with food items, and high foot traffic.
Dealing with pests in a retail store can be as high-risk as in a restaurant. It communicates to your customers a sense of uncleanliness and makes them question the safety of their potential purchases. But how do you manage and understand seasonal pest behavior?
In this blog, we’ll look at the following seasonal challenges when it comes to pests:
- Seasonal Variations in Pest Behavior and Infestations
- Common Spring Pests: Ants, Bees, and Flies
- Summer Pest Concerns for Retail Outlets
- Fall Pest Management in Retail Settings
- Winter Pest Challenges in Retail Environments
- Year-Round Pest Control Strategies
- Employee Involvement in Pest Prevention
Seasonal Variations in Pest Behavior and Infestations
Like humans, pests go indoors to escape the cold in the winter months. Unlike residential properties, you can’t just lock your doors. Retail entryways are constantly exposed to the outdoors. Whether it’s the front sliding doors or the loading dock out back, it’s challenging to eliminate access points for pests in any retail setting. That’s why one critical method of preventing pests is to understand seasonal differences in pest activity, types of pests, and how to deter these for that particular season.
Common Spring Pests: Ants, Bees, and Flies
In the Springtime, pests thrive. It’s the time of year when bugs awake from being dormant and begin their search for food. Many people see this change in pest behavior firsthand and will notice a surplus of bugs in their store. The most common spring pests are ants, flies, and bees.
Ants hibernate during the winter, hidden away in their underground tunnels. Once Spring hits, they go into a frenzy searching for food sources. This high motivation can lead ants into your establishment as they work to rebuild their food collection.
Like ants, flies are dormant in the winter. Specific species of flies, like the cluster fly (Polenia rudis), begin their life cycle in the spring. If you’re noticing flies showing up out of nowhere, they could be in your building all along, in their eggs awaiting hatching in the Spring.
The most common species of bees, like honey, carpenter, and bumble bees, become active in the spring. Of course, it’s their time of year to find fresh flowers and pollinate. Overall, bees aren’t an issue alone, but they may be a safety hazard if they decide to build their nests near or on your property, putting employees and customers in danger of being stung. This is primarily a hazard for allergies and swarm attacks that can lead to lawsuits against your store.
Summer Pest Concerns for Retail Outlets
Dealing with Increased Insect Activity
In the summertime, the heat can bring out some of the nastiest pests, including ticks, fleas, bed bugs, and mosquitoes. These bugs bite and can potentially cause diseases and other dangerous symptoms.
Ticks and Fleas
A critical difference between ticks and fleas is that ticks are significantly more dangerous. Fleas may spread bartonellosis and tapeworm to those they bite, but ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. All that said, you don’t want either of these in your store.
Bed bugs don’t just like residential properties; they’ll thrive anywhere with the right environment. Bed bugs like to live in cushioned or fabric material and may be difficult to spot. Retail facilities make up 16% of pest infestation cases concerning bed bugs.
The summer heat quickly dehydrates mosquitoes, which motivates them to seek out suppliers. Despite being more common than ticks and fleas, mosquitoes carry just as dangerous of pathogens. One of the most common mosquito-borne diseases is the West Nile virus, which can cause symptoms like headache, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.
Fall Pest Management in Retail Settings
Preparing for Rodents Seeking Shelter
As the weather cools off, pests seek shelter in warm, dry environments like stores and warehouses. During this time, they’re also preparing for the cold of winter, searching out resources to keep them alive through spring. Among these fall pests, rodents, cockroaches, and spiders are the most common.
Rats and mice are severe threats to the safety of your customers. They contaminate and damage food products, leave behind feces, and spread diseases. As winter approaches, their main objective is to find a space that supplies food, water, and shelter, which makes a retail store the perfect place. Even if it’s not a grocery store, retail provides plenty of hiding spots and packaged snacks for them to get into.
Cockroaches are tough to get rid of once you have them. Like other fall pests, they prefer warmth and squeeze into the gaps of your store’s foundation to find it. One 2020 study found that 60% of reported sightings of cockroaches in food facilities were in employee breakrooms or kitchens, and 39% were in or around employee lockers. So even if you’re a retail store that doesn’t offer food, roaches will search it thoroughly, including your lunch.
Spiders don’t spread infections but are still considered pests due to their biting and stinging. Spiders are a common insect in retail stores. They’re often found in corners or shelving.
Winter Pest Challenges in Retail Environments
Common Winter Pests: Rodents and Overwintering Insects
You’d think all the pest problems would disappear for the winter, and you’re technically correct. The problem is their “hideaway” is your building. While the number of pests you see outdoors may decrease, you’ll likely see a surplus indoors.
Mice, rats, cockroaches, and spiders primarily seek warmth during these colder months. This time of year, ensure any openings or gaps in your building are sealed, and you’re especially careful about leaving doors open for too long.
Year-Round Pest Control Strategies
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Retail Stores
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a smart strategy for controlling pests in retail stores. It reduces the use of chemicals by focusing on proactive measures, eliminating existing pests, and managing the environment. In addition to using pesticides, IPM includes sealing gaps in structures and planting insect-repelling plants to prevent future pest issues around the store.
Regular Inspections and Monitoring
Conduct regular inspections to ensure that all packaging and storage areas are free from pests. It’s important to maintain a pest-free environment with pest control because, without its consistency, pests will just come back.
Pest Control Strategies for Retailers
Along with professional pest control services, you can take effective pest control measures to prevent pests from entering your establishment. Consider doing the following practices for pest prevention:
- Regularly sweep, mop, and vacuum to remove debris
- Dispose of trash in sealed bins and keep dumpsters away from the building
- Close gaps in walls, windows, and doors to keep pests out
- Use airtight containers for food items
- Elevate stored items to reduce hiding spots for pests
- Check incoming shipments for signs of pests before bringing them inside
- Trim vegetation around the store perimeter
- Train staff on proper food handling and storage
Employee Involvement in Pest Prevention
Training Staff for Early Detection of Pests
Educate facility managers and employees on recognizing and reporting signs of pests. This way, early intervention can prevent a serious infestation from occurring. Some of the primary signs of pests in your store include:
- Spotting the pest, eggs, nest, or droppings in or around the building
- Visible damage to equipment or packages (e.g., gnaw marks, clawing)
- Scurrying or scratching sounds in the walls or floorboards
- The smell of ammonia (Rodent urine)
Don’t let pests get in the way of your business. Schedule a free consultation with one of our pest professionals today.