Ensuring a pest-free environment is an imperative task faced by all in the hospitality industry. The existence of a pest infestation will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on an organisation’s reputation, employee relations and ultimately financial performance. Hotels can become susceptible to a number of pest problems. These include rodents, flies and cockroaches present in kitchen and dining areas as well as bedbug infestations which are becoming an all too common irritant within hotel accommodation.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest control management system focused on prevention and using pesticides as a last resort option so as to minimise environmental damage and compliment health and safety practices. IPM requires a collaborative approach between hotel management, staff and pest control contractors. Essentially it is a set of principles rather than a completely prescriptive model.
There are several factors driving the use of IPM in hotels:
Pest prevention can be put into practice by simple measures such as general good housekeeping and cleaning, storing foods securely and having training policies and clear procedures to help identify and record pest problems. Identifying the type of pest is critically important. For example a bed bug problem will more than likely require immediate treatment.
Bed bug occurrence in particular can be a very challenging problem for hotel management. Incidences of beg bug infestations have grown exponentially over the last decade or so. It is the one pest problem which guests specifically identify as a likely reason for cancelling a booking. Unfortunately, it is often guests who unknowingly bring these other invited guests with them!
It is extremely important to identify bed bugs as soon as possible and to give housekeeping staff the necessary training to help with this process.
These is a range of commercial beg bug treatments which can be use to treat bed bugs. With IPM the first steps are:
Again IPM encourages a “preventive” approach by making hotels unattractive to rodents rather than the standard procedure of using bait and traps with toxic chemicals, some of which rodents are immune to. This can lead to the use of more and higher strength toxins.
It is important therefore to keep all potential rodent food sources securely sealed in containers including materials such as grass seed and pet food which need to be viewed in the same way as human food stuffs. Rats and mice aren’t too discerning!
Rubbish should be contained and emptied frequently. Seal any holes, repair pipes and protect drains and shores with mesh wiring or grates. Traps should be used, clearly identified and checked daily with rodenticide used as a last resort.
There is no universal accreditation for IPM practitioners currently but hoteliers should quiz potential pest control companies on how they implement IPM in practice, how the communication channels are used between both parties and practical examples of IPM in practice in the hotel sector. This will allow them to make an informed decision on choosing the right contractor for their pest control management activities.
All PestGuard service contracts include emergency call outs and follow up site inspections carried out a priority. Reactive treatments are designed to eradicate any current pest problems in the quickest possible time.