Ask The Expert
Q What is a HACCP program?
A HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. HACCP programs are implemented for food safety where a facility has to analyze risk from the raw material all the way to consumption, including the handling, production, manufacturing and distribution processes. HACCP is required for the processing of most foods, with the FDA requiring a food safety plan in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Pest control is an important component of a HACCP program since pests can carry a variety of pathogens that can contaminate food and make people sick. Having an IPM program in food facilities meets a requirement of a HACCP program by preventing pests from contaminating food, as well as proper use and storage of chemicals that could also be hazardous if used incorrectly.
Q How do you maintain a handheld sprayer so that it lasts for years?
A Before you begin using your sprayer each day, do a quick inspection of your tank, gaskets and valves to ensure there are no leaks and no cuts in your hose. Temperature extremes are very dangerous for handheld sprayers, so keep an eye out for any weather changes and be sure to release the pressure in your tank between jobs. Do not store your tank in your vehicle overnight in freezing temperatures or on extremely hot days. You should routinely clean your tank with a detergent, or a soap provided by the manufacturer of the sprayer. Clean the tank with a long-handled brush and clean nozzles and other parts with a soft brush. Don’t use wire brushes for cleaning and do not use bleach on stainless steel. Reach out to your manufacturer for any cleaning or maintenance questions, as well as kits and equipment available for routine replacement of parts.
Q How can you avoid cockroach bait from drying out on a surface and becoming an eyesore for customers?
A We have all seen the dried brown globs of bait from previous services and while it can be removed, it’s a pain to scrape and try to wash off. First of all, if your cockroach population is not significant, try smaller placements in more areas where you are finding activity. Additionally, you can use bait trays or a method designed by Dr. Dini Miller, professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, called bait tacos. Create your bait tacos by cutting 2×2 inch squares of wax paper and placing your bait right down the middle. Then fold your wax paper into a taco, not too tight because you don’t want to completely squish the bait and close the paper—leave a gap for the cockroach to enter. You can create your wax papers before you go out on the job and keep them on hand for easy bait placement, sliding them under appliances and deep into cabinets, and then they can easily be removed to prevent having to remove dried bait from surfaces between service.