5 Pest Prone Areas in Retail Stores
There are many responsibilities when it comes to owning and operating a retail store. Be vigilant of the most common retail store pests and how to prevent pest infestations. The one kind of traffic you don’t want in your store is that of mice, ants, cockroaches and other bugs. Having these critters in your stores, whether it’s in dry goods, fresh produce or clothing, could cause a loss in business and permanently tarnish your reputation.
Having pests in retail stores is more common than you might think, whether it’s a bird in the rafters or a cockroach hiding near your bakery’s fridge where it’s cool, moist and dark. Although common, it’s possible to treat and prevent infestations altogether. You’re already taking the first step — the fact that you’re reading this article demonstrates a proactive approach to preventing bugs in your retail store.
1. Pests Love Dry Goods
One of the most common pest-prone products in your store is dry goods, particularly the grocery kind. Favorites include flour, rice, cake mixes, seeds, nuts, chocolate, teas, cereal, dog food and birdseed. These products attract swarms of pests, such as meal moths, mice and grain beetles.
Keep all storage and display areas clean and free of spills. For example, if a customer spills flour in your baking aisle, be sure to clean it up immediately — any hesitation could attract pests. Taking steps to prevent spills does not guarantee you won’t have pest problems. Mice, grain beetles and other critters can also get through cardboard, cellophane, paper and plastic. That’s why it’s important to have food safety protocols in place to prevent and treat pest problems.
2. Dumpsters Are a Feeding Frenzy for Most Pests
Trash cans and dumpsters are well-known places for pests to congregate. Whether it’s the trash can in the employee break room or the dumpsters out back, waste attracts pests from miles around. Flies are known to stay vigilant for miles, tracking food and trash scents each time the wind changes. Rats, mice, ants, raccoons, squirrels, cockroaches, wasps, bees and birds are just a few critters that consider dumpster contents an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Not only are they unsightly and can cause considerable emotional distress, but these pests also make a mess of your trash if you don’t use sealed heavy-duty trash bags. To prevent such issues, clean any spills near or around all trash cans and dumpsters. Regularly empty and wash trash cans throughout your store, especially those in food preparation or food storage areas and all employee break rooms.
3. Employee Belongings Are Taxi Services for Pests
Unfortunately, it’s easy for pests to sneak into your establishment after hitching a ride on your employees’ lunch boxes, purses, gym bags and other belongings. Be sure to inspect and clean the area where employees stash their belongings during their shift.
Keep employee clothing and belongings separate from work uniforms, equipment and merchandise. It’s also helpful to educate your employees on the proper way to store the food from their lunches, making sure it’s not left in open containers. Use helpful signage and invest in quality food storage containers to make it easier for your employees to enjoy a pest-free break.
4. Loading Docks and Other Doorways
It’s no surprise that loading docks and doorways are a common entry point for pests in retail stores. Larger pests, like mice, rats and birds, can enter through these areas, while small pests, like moths, gnats, spiders and cockroaches, can scurry in undetected. Even the type of lighting near loading docks and in parking lots can attract pests.
To minimize the possibility of a pest infestation through these entry and exit points, don’t leave loading dock doors open and unattended. When you’re not using the loading docks, keep the doors securely closed. Another way pests can enter your store is through the merchandise that comes in off the trucks, which could’ve been infested during transit. Make sure your employees take the appropriate precautions to prevent pests from infesting the merchandise already in your store.
5. Keep an Eye on Merchandise Kept Outside
If you have a large retail store with merchandise you keep outside, take the necessary steps to keep pests from invading your products. A few pest-prone areas to watch for are bundles of firewood and plants in gardening sections or outdoor storage buildings.
Pests — including beetles, wood borers, ants and spiders — prefer the compact environment these products provide. Pests only need shelter, food and water to survive, making plants, firewood and outdoor storage the perfect places for them to thrive. Learn about how to protect your store’s plants from pests to ensure that they stay healthy and attract satisfied, loyal customers.
Best Preventative Measures to Take On Your Own
After noting your most common pest-prone areas, create a plan to combat pests in your retail store. There are many preventative measures you can easily implement to keep customers coming back time and time again.
Avoid pest issues in your retail shop with these tips:
- Scrub trash cans: Empty trash cans regularly, especially those in employee’s break rooms, bakeries, delis and fresh produce areas. Create a schedule to deep clean trash cans periodically and as needed, allowing them ample time to air-dry.
- Seal the building: Cover vents and close gaps throughout your store, and schedule regular inspections near doors and areas around pipes to prevent pests from infesting. Work with a professional to identify possible pest entry points for extra protection.
- Install weather stripping: Install tight weather stripping on loading dock doors and around all inside and outside doors. This is a simple yet effective way to keep out pests and helps regulate your store’s temperature.
- Keep it clean: Eliminate clutter around your store in the back stock rooms, dressing rooms and sales floor areas. Collapsed cardboard boxes, packing supplies and other materials on the floor creates a prime environment for cockroaches and spiders to hide and build colonies.
Contact Pestech Pest Solutions for Retail Store Pest Prevention
Whether it’s mice and ants or flies and raccoons, having a pest problem in your retail store is more than just a nuisance. These critters will ruin your merchandise, frighten away customers and tarnish your shop’s overall reputation. Depending on the pest, it could also be a significant health risk.
Aside from taking your own precautions to prevent pest infestations in the most common pest-prone areas, working with a professional to keep your retail store bug-free is the most effective strategy. Contact Pestech Pest Solutions today to schedule a pest control inspection — we’ll eliminate your stress and pests with fast, professional services.