Pest Control News

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Pest Control Vs Public Opinion

Getting the Balance Right: Pest Control Vs Public Opinion

In early June, a local paper picked up a story that had started on social media. A shopper at a supermarket had seen an ‘exterminator’ shoot a fox in a trap set outside the store, in the warehouse section.

With feelings running high around foxes, this was clearly a major blunder for the supermarket. It was also not a great look for the ‘exterminator’, which the client later confirmed was a ‘hired professional pest controller’.

As pest controllers doing our ‘day job’, we probably are guilty of forgetting how people can feel about pest control and the remedies and solutions we use. For the supermarket, they were quoted saying that due to food safety laws, health and safety and a myriad of other legally binding responsibilities, they were taking the right course of action.

It highlights a key area for pest control: balance. On one hand, companies and businesses do have legal obligations and professional pest control is undoubtedly the right move in controlling pests and vermin. But there also needs to be a balance with public perception.
So how do we get this balance?

·      Education – Pests and Legislation

It is a delicate balancing act but a fox in a food storage area is contravening a number of laws and guidelines. From a food hygiene point of view, as consumers, we want to know that our food is safe right through the supply chain.

Most people are aware of food hygiene and other laws etc. that govern businesses, including supermarkets. But as well as refreshing people’s knowledge of guidelines and laws, we also need to make sure that people are aware of how pests are treated.

Again, pest controllers are subject to all kinds of laws, the majority of which (if not all) also apply to the ‘ordinary person on the street’. No one can cause unnecessary suffering to an animal or bird, whether you have pest control qualifications or not.

There are also some methods which are acceptable when dealing with certain pests, foxes included. Foxes, if not relocated, should either be euthanised or shot. Euthanasia can only be carried out by a vet and is considered too expensive as a long-term pest control solution. Therefore, the pest controller was within the law shooting the fox.

·      Discretion

It was a difficult thing for someone to have to witness. And with social media the outlet for airing grievances and the like, it was a natural progression that this story would make it to the public domain in this way.

Shooting the fox in broad daylight and within sight of the public may seem reprehensible and the need for discretion in ALL pest control assignments is essential.

Was this the right action?

The debate over whether this fox should have been shot or not could rage for weeks and months. There is certainly need to look at the situation closely as the supermarket say that they had foxes attempting to gain access to the store for some time. They had to act.

The pest control company brought in to deal with the problem also had to act and according to the law, they acted within it.

But maybe the balance was missing here, maybe the pest controller should have recognised the very public site and changed tack accordingly.

What do you think about pest control actions in this case – right or wrong?

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mice in Dartford Pub - Rodent problems?

“Mice Spotted at Dartford Pub!”

The Problem with Rodents

It was a headline that would send shivers down any business owner’s spine. Diners enjoying an evening meal spotted not one, but two mice skittering along the floor of a Dartford pub whilst they ate.

With food crumbs under tables, it was rich picking for the mice. Normally creatures who run from human company, why were these mice so brazen in their movements in a crowded pub and dining area? What can you do to reduce the possibility of mice in and around your home?

Opportunity

Life is full of opportunities, isn’t it? And the same is true for the humble field mouse, the small, brown rodent seen running along the edge of the pub dining room, heading for the cover and safety of a sofa, followed quickly by another mouse.

     I.         Food

First and foremost, the opportunity of nibbling on scraps was too good an opportunity to pass. With other hungry mouths to feed, the mice were enjoying a veritable feast of crumbs and snacks beneath tables and chairs.

Even the thought of being in human company was not enough to put them off. Diners were obviously critical and put off their meal – and rightly so – and said that the crumbs under the table were clearly the cause of the problem.

Food scraps left out in this way were contributing to the problem but the bad news is, if there are mice IN the premises, there is bound to be more nearby. In other words, the mouse problem is bigger than you think…

   II.         Weather

Just as there are opportunities, there are also threats and for the mouse, the biggest threat other than next door’s cat is the weather. Periods of prolonged heat or rain will make their normal food source scarce. They really don’t want to take the risk of being spotted by humans, but when hungry, they will take a chance.

This story was from early December 2016. And, according to the Met Office, we had a mild winter with December in particular in southern counties being drier than average. Could it be that the natural food source of mice was not as bountiful as it would normally be?

A Bigger Pest Control Problem

The abundance of food and possibly the drier than average weather experienced in the region may have contributed to mice being more of a problem.

Mice, like most pests, are attracted to places that offer them abundant food and great places to nest. They want to raise their young in warm, safe places, where there are few predators – and that includes humans.

In essence, when mice or any other pest are left alone, they will thrive. Thus, all food businesses, from food storage facilities to restaurants, pubs and cafes know that being constantly vigilant and pro-active in their pest control activities is critical to the continued success of their business.


For domestic customers, if you see a mouse, there really is only one option – call SOS Pest Control, your local, professional pest control company.