Sanitation: Removing Food Sources

July 11th, 2023

In the pest control industry, we hear and use the word “sanitation” on a daily basis. In fact, we try to drill it into the heads of new recruits and veterans of the industry alike. Why? Because it is a vital key in any IPM or pest control program! No matter how good the pest company is, if the customer practices poor sanitation, problems will abound and our efforts will fail. Removing food sources as part of sanitation is a perfect starting point.

Of course, we do not live in a perfect world and perfect sanitation doesn’t exist. If it did, there would be no pest problems at all. To have perfect sanitation, we would need to eliminate all moisture and food at the very least. That’s impossible in a home and beyond impossible in many commercial settings. Nonetheless, good sanitation practices do exist and when properly implemented, will aid in the prevention and reduction of several pests.

Sanitation:c Removing Food Sources - This is a crucial step in good sanitation measures and crucial to achieve long term pest suppression.

No food… No Pests

Where there is no food, the people perish and the same goes for pests. When the food supplies are low, the pests must compete (fight) for what is available. If the food source is limited, some pests will get food and some will not. Those which do not will either leave for other sources or perish from starvation or malnutrition. Those which do get food might only get enough to sustain them but not prosper them.

Let’s use rodents as an example. The lifespan of rodents is effectively reduced when their food sources are limited. Since they are eating less than is required, their overall health dwindles. To add fuel to the fire, if there are several rodents fighting over a small food source, extra energy is exerted to fight for a meal that will barely sustain them. In turn, this limits the lifespan of the rodents and forces some to either leave or perish.

Without Food, Pests Cannot Reproduce

When all your energy is being spent on survival, you have little time and little remaining energy for anything else. Reproduction takes energy in several ways. For starters, the initial act of reproduction exerts energy. Once reproduction has begun, the female must carry the offspring. If she hardly has enough food for herself, she won’t have enough energy to carry her offspring to term. Even if she manages to carry to term, the offspring will likely die due to the lack of food. However, if they survive, she must go on to feed them until they can feed themselves. If she wasn’t able to access enough food for herself, she won’t be able to feed her young.

Animals have an instinctive need to reproduce but the instinctive need to survive comes first. Whether it’s rodents, birds, bats, ants, bed bugs, roaches or a variety of other pests, food is primary. Without it, reproduction is useless anyway. If we can take the food out of the equation, or even limit the food, we have begun a domino effect that will impact the pest population dramatically.

When Food is Reduced, Baiting Techniques Can Conquer

One of the greatest pest control methods is baiting. Mice, ants, rats, roaches, birds, and other species can be baited to reduce and eliminate populations. The problem, however, is competition for the bait. What competes with pest baits? Food! That’s right, any other type of food.

If roaches are the problem, the smallest specks of food are sufficient for sustenance. Therefore it becomes imperative that we are very clean and sanitary, especially within the kitchen.

We often say it this way; If you had the choice of bologna (our bait) or filet mignon (other food sources) which would you choose? Filet mignon, of course! Pests react the same way. If we offer them bait matrixes when there are plenty of other food sources available, they will likely not feed on the baits, or will feed very little. This means less success and less control. Eliminating other food sources forces the pest to eat the baits and thereby exposes them to the lethal active ingredients. Viola! Pets gone!

How Do We Remove All Food Sources?

The short answer is, you can’t. But removing all food sources is not necessary. What we need to do is dramatically reduce them, make them harder to access and leave them accessible for much shorter times. In plain English, Store unused food in proper storage containers, make less messes, and clean up messes immediately. Leaving dirty dishes overnight may not seem like a terrible thing but it allows pests 8 or more hours to access food scraps. Removing garbage is equally important, as is sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning counters and practicing other sanitation measures.

Four Seasons Pest Solutions is always ready to help with all your pest control needs. We can make sanitation and removing food sources make sense for your home or facility as well as suggest other sanitation measures and implement pest programs. Our team of skilled professionals can implement the perfect plan for any pest issue you might experience. But remember, for the best control efforts, you’ll have to be involved in sanitation or you won’t get the results our programs are capable of.