Preventing pests

Prevention in the food industry

Rather than having to control pest problems once they arise, care in the design, structure and layout of buildings can prevent such problems beginning. Good housekeeping measures, such as prevention of access, stock rotation, proofing, covering food, and cleaning schedules, will help prevent infestation. Food premises should also have a documented pest control system in place.

Efficient management, good warehouse practice, inspection and cleaning systems and record keeping will prevent many pest problems arising. It's important to ensure that all areas are routinely inspected as little used rooms provide undisturbed harbourage for pests. A Pest Control Manual should be kept containing records of inspections and treatments and details of each sighting of pests.

Prevention through building design and maintenance

Fire escapes, elevators, lift shafts, roller shutters and any other openings should be regularly checked for openings, cracks and other ways that pests are able to make their way into the building.

Control of infestation by rodents can be improved by denying them access to water. Sources of water include toilets, sinks, washbasins, dripping taps, guttering and other sources resulting from bad weather-proofing, cleaning or manufacturing activities. Good building maintenance and cleaning will help control such problems.

Prevention through general housekeeping

Produce should be kept clear of doors, windows and ventilators, walls or corners. Different classes of goods should be separately stored especially those susceptible to infestation. Stock rotation helps prevent the build up of old stock and makes checking and cleaning easier. Cleaning is extremely important to preventive pest control and to the requirements of law. Cleaning and the application of rodenticides and insecticides need careful co-ordination and training.


  • Insect and rodents

Inspection of the building fabric should be carried out as a routine procedure and any damage repaired immediately in order to maintain a smooth, crack free surface.

Holes made or used by rodents should be filled. In order to prevent rodents re-opening holes before the filling has set, wire can be plugged into the holes to support a concrete mix. Metal sheeting should be applied to prevent or repair rodent damage at the junctions of wooden walls, floors and ceilings.

  • Birds

Birds contaminate food with their droppings and feathers and from the flies and other insects which are carried on their bodies or breed in their nests. Birds can be discouraged by the erection of netting, plastic strips, or air curtains. Proofing of external ledges of buildings can be used to discourage roosting.

Need further advice? 

Contact the Pest Control team

Last updated: 3 February 2017