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Forward Thinking Pest Control
In 1985, Gold PESP member, Environmental Health Services, Inc. (EHS) was founded with the commitment to not only provide effective pest management solutions, but to also be stewards of the environment. EHS pioneered IPM concepts such as preventive exclusion and utilization of low impact products which have now become industry standards. EHS believes there is strong value in providing a solution rather than a band aid approach (treating the symptoms) to any pest problem.
EHS is so committed to prevention, that they have vehicles devoted to nothing but exclusion. They do not carry any pesticides, only the materials needed to prevent pests from entering structures.
A member of EHS's exclusion-only vehicle fleet
What inspired your company to focus on exclusion prevention and low-impact products?
Exclusion and low-impact products have been our core philosophy since our company's inception in 1985. John Stellberger, our company owner, is a visionary in this area and back in 1985 this thinking was at least a decade ahead of its time. Over the last quarter of a century we have improved our structural pest exclusion techniques and have now implemented technology into it (i.e. digital cameravideo inspection scopes). Thanks to amazing research and development from product manufacturers, the pest control products available today give us so many 25b and low-impact options.
What makes pest control in restaurants and food services unique, and how do you use IPM to address these challenges?
Pest management in restaurants is much different than in a federally regulated food service (manufacturer, distribution, etc.) facility. Restaurant pest control is about as difficult as anything in the industry. Sanitation, cultural practices, and structural issues are, in some cases, daunting.
The success of a pest program in this environment relies solely on a mutually beneficial partnership with the client. The client must buy-in completely when it comes to cooperation and expertise from the pest management professional. IPM tactics can work in any setting as long as there is a committed partnership.
What pest control practices have you found to be the most useful in sensitive environments?
The most important practice with pests in a sensitive environment is following the root-causeanalysis process. Interview the client to understand the history, concerns, obstacles, past corrective actions, etc. After this you perform a true holistic three dimensional structural inspection to determine why the pest is there.
The next step is detailed monitoring and/ or trapping to determine pest thresholds in various areas. Intense structural exclusion is a vital component of pest elimination and this must be done in all conducive areas of the structure. Depending on the pest issue trapping, vacuuming, and low impact prescription treatments will eliminate or keep pests below accepted levels.
Tell us about a success story applying IPM to a challenging pest management situation.
In 2009, we were called in to a particularly challenging situation. A landmark restaurant in Boston's inner harbor was infested with rats, and several PMPs had failed to prevent rats from entering the restaurant. There was pressure on this restaurant from health agencies, and no one had been able to solve the problem.
Areas of the seawall in Boston's harbor have suffered over 200 years of erosion, and there are many underground tunnels not listed on maps – which means there are numerous potential entry points for rats throughout the harbor. The rats were literally running along the sea wall under the facility and they were going everywhere.
The prior contractors used copper mesh and expanding foam which didn't work. The rats easily gnawed through it. The only way was to use stainless steel mesh screening and essentially encapsulate the underside of the restaurant right up to the gutter line.
Our service specialists battled cold temperatures and had to be exact about timing to work around the tide changes. A miscalculation would lead to our technicians and equipment getting flooded! We succeeded in completely encapsulating the entire restaurant, creating a 100% impenetrable exterior area to the historic eatery, and completely excluding rats and mice from entering the structure.
EHS's Key Pest Prevention Tips
Fall is one of the best times to focus on pest-proofing a building in anticipation of winter. However, it's not too late to pest-proof during the winter months. Mice need an opening the size of a dime (1/4"), rats the size of a quarter (1/2"), and insects even less space to gain entrance.
It is highly important to seal pests out at all times of the year so having an inspection by a pest management professional is a great investment in pest protection, as they know exactly what to look for. Pests, like all other organisms, need food, water, and shelter to survive. If these are in abundance they will thrive. Any action taken to reduce these three contributing factors will pay big dividends.
Pests are truly endophilic (ecologically associated with humans and their domestic environment). Their survival is totally dependent on humans and we give them everything they need, often on a silver platter!