Blog

Food Safety & Pest Control

Restaurants and Fresh food suppliers

13.11.2018 by Sovereign Pest Control

food_safety

Can you trust those who sell us our food?

It is now so easy for you to get on social media and crucify restaurants and cafes for not meeting your expectations. Whether it is their service, their product or the cleanliness of the establishment, the food supplier should endeavour to provide their absolute best, before needing Gordon Ramsey.

Now how many times have you walked into a shop and noticed flies buzzing around the food?

Or Ants marching across the footpath outside a shop?

Maybe you’ve not even been able to read the name of the shop past the cobwebs on the signage.

Have you seen those YouTube videos of rats or mice in stores, feeding away like they own the place? Or Cockroaches covering the food preparation areas of the kitchens .

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So interesting to note – retail food suppliers are governed by their local council’s own inspector(s).

Unfortunately for a lot of local councils the budget handed down to pay for these inspectors and support staff is minimal. Therefore the food supplier is left to decide how important and what level of pest control they think is warranted, within their establishment, often leaving a store completely unprotected until the problem is to big.

Food establishments should be using guidelines set by the State government for food health standards. Noting things like:

  • Maximum times for food storage;
  • Temperatures of fridges, bain mares, pie warmers etc.
  • Wash hand basins and toilet facilities for staff cleanliness.
  • Cleaning of food preparation surfaces, utensils, floors, drains etc.
  • Is the premises free from pests?

Basically the food safety code recommends,

  • “pests should be prevented in food establishments”.  Not very informative.

Sovereign Pest Control provides professional services to the pro-active food retailers in the Ballarat region. These pro-active retailers understand that baits and chemicals are just like their food, and have a certain life expectancy of freshness, making it important to have a regular pest control program in place to stop infestation from happing. So when you see a Sovereign pest control vehicle or technician in your favorite shop, please don’t panic, instead remember that this is what makes the store one of your favorite’s, because you can feel assured that pests are being prevented and your food is safe.

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Prevention is the best practice of pest control for all food outlets. Reacting to pests that are already in the shop is far from ideal and often too late.

Surprisingly many retailers of the food industry don’t know a great deal about pest control, and what control really means. You see some retailers struggle with the difference between prevention and reaction, and by struggling with this leaving the Control of pest’s until the last minute, but as we know all too well for every pest you do see many more are present and remaining in hiding.

Part of the food safety guidelines covers pest control, but a very small mention in the overall scope, which is worrying to us at Sovereign Pest Control.

Feel free to share this with your friends, colleagues, employers and employees. The more establishments we look after the safer our food will be.

There are a number of Food Safety Services within Australia who provide guidelines to food establishments based on ‘Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’. This code is a key tool on food safety for all Food Outlets. We have listed some links below for further reading.

Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety and General Requirements. (Division 6 Section 24 relates to Pest control)

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand link – Appendix 7 Pest Management

Ants.

Ant invasion?

Ants cause problems primarily when they forage in buildings for food or water, or when they construct nests in buildings and gardens.

Ants can be attracted to a wide range of products, with different species preferring different things such as: sweets, meats, fats or oils. Ants will also search indoors for water during dry periods. When desirable items are found many species will recruit fellow nest to help gather the food and return it to the nest. This can result in large numbers of ants appearing in a short period of time.

Of all insects that infest buildings, ants are the most common. There are many different species of ant. Each is unique in terms of their nesting sites, habits, characteristics and feeding preferences.

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The Ant Hierarchy

  • An egg-laying female (Queen)
  • Short-lived males and workers (sterile female)
  • Foragers in gardens or kitchens (Workers)

 

Treatment for Ant Control

Ant control can be extremely difficult, but there are some things you should know about their behavior that will help you keep them under control.

 

  • Entry:Ants can enter through even the tiniest cracks, seeking out water and sweet or greasy food substances.
  • Colony Lifetime:A colony can live a relatively long lifetime. Worker ants may live seven years and the queen may live as long as 15 years.
  • Colony size:A colony can contain thousands of Ants and whole colonies can at times quickly relocate quickly when threatened.
  • Pheromone trails:Ants leave an invisible chemical trail containing pheromones for other ants to follow once they locate the food source.
  • Nest locations: Ants can nest anywhere in and around your buildings in lawns, walls, stumps, foundations, and even under concrete slabs making a small crack a new highway into your property.
  • Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness:Most do-it-yourself ant control approaches only kill the ants you see and are rarely ineffective as a long term solution to infestations.

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Prevention Tips

  • Keep food stored tightly.
  • Clean up any food and drink spills immediately.
  • Rinse out cans and bottles before placing them into the recycling bin.
  • Pick up pet food at night and don’t feed them outdoors.
  • Seal all cracks around your doors and windows, and keep gutters and downpipes clean.

 

Successful ant control requires more than just a surface spray. At Sovereign, we use the latest Chemicals available including repellent & non-repellent liquid insecticide’s and insecticidal dust.

Rodents

Do you have Rodents?

Rodents (rats & mice) are an issue that affect many of the Ballarat and greater region homes. Your home is just as attractive to them as it is to you, providing rodents with everything they need food, water and shelter.

Rodents not only spread diseases and contaminate food, they also can cause alot of damage to your home. Rodents have to continually gnaw on their teeth to keep them from growing too long. They will gnaw on any thing such as your pipes, plaster and electrical cables and conduits. Every year homes are water damaged and fires are caused by rodent infestations. There are three main types of rodents that commonly effect our households.

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Treating your Rodent problem

If you suspect rodent infestation in your home, contact us to inspect and treat the pest problem. At Sovereign Pest Control we will provide treatment along side recommendations to help keep you home rodent free longer.

Our treatment

At Sovereign we treat your home using licensed multi-dose bait

We treat rodent entry points and harbourage areas throughout your home.

By using this multi-dose treatment method, and not the traditional single feed baiting system we ensure we keep your family and pets safe. With single feed type of bait’s there is a greater risk of secondary poisoning. This poisoning can occur when your pets consume dead rodents affected by the single feed bait or if rodents drop unsecured bait whilst taking it back to the nest to feed the young. Rest assured when we are treating your home we always provide safe, family and pet friendly control methods. Our baiting systems make sure bait can not be moved from the strategically placed positions.

Sovereign’s rodent treatment comes with a 6-month service warranty.

 

Can you to tell if you have rodents

Here are some signs or key indicators of a rodent infestation.

  • Droppings– Usually, your first clue of a rodent infestation is their droppings. You may find them anywhere, but most of our clients first find these in their kitchen cupboards and drawers.
  • Mouse droppings. Mouse droppings are smooth with pointed ends, and are 3-5 mm long.
  • Rat droppings.Rodent droppings are shiny black and depending on the species will be from 12mm to 18mm long.
  • Odours. You can smell rodent urine or a musty odour in poorly ventilated areas such as your cupboard with a rodent infestation is present.
  • Sounds. While you may not see them, you can probably hear rodents moving in your roof and wall cavities, or even under your kitchen cupboards.
  • Damage. Rodents will gnaw their way through packaging to get to food products. Rodents will also gnaw on objects to sharpen their incisors to keep them from growing to long.
  • Visual Sighting– You may see mice or rats scurrying along a wall or under some furniture, even scurrying from behind the cereal in the morning just to scare you.
  • Runways and Grease marks– Greasy marks are caused by rodents repeatedly rubbing their oily fur along their runways e.g. walls or entrance points. Rats are neophobic (scared of new things) as so they will follow the same runway on a daily basis.
  • Tracks– Rodent track marks can be seen in areas where there is a layer of dust, such as under the house, in the roof. Often, rodent tails also leave a swing mark.
  • Burrows– Burrows can be found near walls, fences, under buildings and decking.

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Rodent Prevention Tips

There are many ways homeowners can proactively prevent rodent infestations in their homes:

  • Install door seals on the bottom on exterior doors.
  • Install screens to vents and chimneys.
  • Seal holes and cracks to the outside of your home, including areas where utilities and pipes enter.
  • Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly, making sure the bin lid is closed.

 

Best thing is at Sovereign we can help with most of these prevention tips along side your treatment process.

Spiders of Ballarat and Victoria

Common Spiders of Victoria

There are many types of spiders in Australia, all of which thrive in different conditions. Spider types that are commonly found inside your homes have adapted to the conditions indoors so they can live in a less humid atmosphere and with less food consistently available to them, some can even survive for months on end without food or water! Spiders that live outdoors prefer a warm and damp surrounding, in which their preferred source of food is insects. Below is just a few of the spiders you would expect to see in and around your home.

 

Red-Back Spider:

Female up to 14mm, Male up to 3mm.

This spider has a pea-shaped abdomen with a characteristic red to orange stripe. Red-Backs build webs in and around your home throughout rubbish, around pot plants, outdoor furniture and logs.

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White Tail Spider:

Female up to 20mm, Male up to 12mm.

A dull, dark grey with a characteristic white spot on the end of the abdomen. Usually encountered inside houses sheltering from the weather or introduced on clothing brought in from the clothes line. Bites are very common due to the habits of this spider.

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Black House Spider:

Female up to 18mm. Male up to 9mm.

A dark brown to grey/black robust spider with some body markings. They build webs in the cavities of your home or in dark corners of windows, verandas, sheds or fences.

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Huntsman Spider:

Female up to 2 cm body, Male up to 1.6 cm Body Leg span: up to 15 cm

The Huntsman is mostly grey to brown with large long legs. They are often found around homes and gardens in search of prey.

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Wolf Spider:

Females up to 35mm. Males up to 20mm.

Wolf spiders have a mottled grey and brown body, and harbour under leaf litter in the garden or burrows in the ground around your home.

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Melbourne Trapdoor Spider:

Female up to 35mm Male up to 25mm.

Due to its size, colour and large fangs, these spiders are often thought to be Sydney funnel-web spiders. The Melbourne trap-door spider is a common ground-dwelling spider often encountered by the weekend gardener when digging soil or moving rocks. Both males and females dig silk-lined burrows up to 40 cm deep in soft earth. Despite the reference in the common name, the entrance of the spider’s burrow does not have a ‘trap-door’. The spiders feed at night, waiting at the entrance of the burrow to ambush passing insects. Males leave the burrow when mature and roam in search of a mate. This roaming usually occurs in autumn or early winter and may take the spider into odd places such as inside houses, swimming pools, etc.

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Orb-weaving Spider:

Female up to 30mm. Male up to 20mm.

A reddish brown to grey spider with a leaf shaped pattern on their abdomen. They build suspended, sticky, wheeled shaped orb webs between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly.

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Ways to help prevent spiders

It is good practise not to leave clothes on the floor, if you do pick up your clothes of the ground make sure you shake them thoroughly before putting them on. Other ways to avoid unpleasant surprises are to check your bedding before going to bed, vacuum regularly, remove noticeable webs, fill in gaps in walls and under doors to prevent entry and reduce harborage areas around the home by relocating firewood away from the home.

Call us today on 0490 081 132 to speak with one of our team members who can answer any questions you may have and arrange the treatment suited to your situation.

 

Why use Sovereign Pest Control

  • Quick same day/ Next day service
  • We Provide Safe, Family Friendly Spider Control.
  • Knowledgeable & Licensed Technicians.

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