How To Identify A Pest Infestation?

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How To Identify A Pest Infestation?

During our food and hygiene courses, we often get asked, “How to identify pest infestation?”  In this article, we share the five vital signs everyone in your business should be looking out for.

When pests find their way into a food business they always bring bad news, a pest infestation left untreated could mean contamination of food, complaints and prosecution.

Companies that have previously been prosecuted all had pest contractors, but, ultimately, they were found responsible for their failings; in all these cases the signs of pest infestation were either not spotted or not reported.

Training your staff to spot signs of an infestation should be at the forefront of your pest control policy; any reported signs should be recorded, and appropriate measures are taken.

How To Identify A Pest Infestation

The Five Vital Signs

So here they are, the five vital signs everyone in your business should be aware of:

  1. Droppings. Mouse and rat droppings are small and dark, they will be scattered randomly and can often be found alongside skirting boards and on top of counters and in cupboards.
  2. Gnawing marks and damage. Holes in sacks and bags, damage to food packaging and to storage containers are clear signs that rodents might be present in your food business.
  3. Smear marks. Due to their poor eyesight rats run along established paths, often following skirting boards and walls; the oil and grease in their fur will leave dark smudges on walls.
  4. Webbing, flour tracks and moulds in grain products. These could all be signs of stored product insects, which might find their way into dry stores. They all not only a source of contamination, but they can also do a lot of damage to stored foods.
  5. Bodies. Whether finding dead bodies or casings or actual sightings of live animals, they are all an indication that you might be facing a pest infestation.

Are your staff trained to spot these signs?

More information on control measures can be found in the FSA Safer Food Better Business Pack.


If you have a question or enquiry about food safety, please call the team on 01452 502113 or complete our enquiry form.

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