Wednesday, July 27, 2011


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Big box retailers and large food manufacturers are shining a spotlight on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies as they strive to become green. With motives running the gamut from image-building to environmental stewardship to increased effectiveness, these industry leaders are taking a scientific approach to pest management, looking for more efficient, sustainable means of controlling pests while maintaining the highest levels of food safety.
A research study that’s been under way for several years suggests that these goals are attainable. Led by Dr. Bobby Corrigan, president of RMC Pest Management Consulting, Richmond, Ind., the study is evaluating traditional rodent management procedures vs. new-generation IPM procedures in big box and other large commercial accounts.
"Not only do big food and retail companies want green solutions, but scientifically speaking, green solutions often make sense for them," Corrigan said. "When I go into residential accounts, the perspective is often ‘green schmeen — do whatever you have to do to keep my house pest-free.’ But in the food industry, the focus is on minimizing pesticide use. While no one wants contamination from rodent hair or feces, they also don’t want large amounts of pesticides in their manufacturing, packaging and distribution facilities. We’re studying alternative solutions."
Complex Environments. Traditionally, pest management professionals followed certain standards in protecting large food operations from rodents — bait stations every 50 to 100 feet outside a warehouse and traps every 20 to 40 feet inside, for example. Corrigan takes issue with this type of "yardstick pest management": "We love uniformity — barriers of protection — when it comes to food safety. But these standards were developed 50 years ago, based on two incorrect notions: that rodents always follow walls (in fact, they move around adeptly without walls) and that they have home ranges of only 10 to 100 feet (we know now that rats can have home ranges as far as 450 feet)." continue reading...

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