PESTS? WHAT ARE PEST CONTROL SERVICES IN KENYA?

WHAT IS PEST CONTROL?

Pest control: Pest control is the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, a member of the animal kingdom that impacts adversely on human activities. The human response depends on the importance of the damage done and will range from tolerance, through deterrence and management, to attempts to completely eradicate the pest. Pest control measures may be performed as part of an integrated pest management strategy. Pests, what are pest control services in Kenya?

Pests, what is pest control?
Pests, what is pest control?

PEST CONTROL?

pest control in Nairobi Kenya?
pest control in Nairobi Kenya?

The pest control industry has expanded over the past few years. Food-related businesses are required by law to maintain certain hygiene standards, so the rise in the number of food-related businesses operating countrywide over the last few years has increased demand for pest control services.

The pest control industry is currently worth billion Kenya shillings in our economy; however, industry profitability is expected to have fallen in 2020-21 as a result of COVID business closures.

What is pest control?

When people hear the terms “pest management” or “pest control”, they are typically thinking about the eradication of cockroaches, rats, bedbugs, fleas, mice, insects etc. Actually, pest management is involved with the safety of our health, our foods and the protection of our property. It is vital to have a system of control for pests for the safety of the overall public.

Almost 20% of the world’s food supply is consumed by rodents, and rodents are prime carriers for other dangerous pests such as fleas, ticks and mites. Rodents also carry diseases that are transmittable to humans and other animals.

Cockroaches have allergens that many people, approximately 7, 8% of the general public, are allergic to and are considered to be among the filthiest insects in existence. Without pest management control practices, food hygiene, food regulation and health regulations would not be properly achieved.

PEST CONTROL?

What is classed as a pest? According to regulators, a pest is any organism that spreads disease, causes destruction or is otherwise a nuisance. Vermin is the general term applied to animal and bird species regarded as pests, and especially to those associated with diseases.

Some of the most common are:

Ants: The most common species of ant is the black garden ant. A highly organized and social insect, a colony will nest and include worker ants which are attracted to sweet food. Ants may cause contamination to food and preparation areas.

Bedbugs: Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color. Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds, sofas and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Bedbugs live solely on blood. Having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness; you are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

Cockroaches: There are two types of cockroach found in homes, the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. Cockroaches will feed on almost anything, from food to fecal matter. They are commonly found in kitchens and heating systems. They prefer warm moist conditions and they reproduce rapidly; a German cockroach can produce up to 240 eggs per month. They can spread bacteria and usually indicate that food preparation areas are not clean. Germs can be spread from the body of a cockroach or from their droppings. They can carry dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid and food poisoning organisms. Contamination occurs when the cockroaches come into contact with food.

Fleas: Fleas are external parasites, living off the blood of mammals and birds, and include cat/dog fleas, human fleas and rat fleas. Beside the problems posed by the flea itself, they can also act as a vector for disease, for example, they can transmit a variety of viral and bacterial diseases to humans and other animals. Cat/dog fleas are not thought to transmit any serious illness to humans but they can cause severe irritation.

Wasps and bees: Wasp nests are normally built in sheltered spots, with easy access to outside. They can be found in areas such as wall cavities, roof spaces and under eaves. They can grow to around the size of a football as the summer progresses. Only female wasps sting, but they can do so repeatedly. Honeybees live in colonies often greater than 30,000 in roof and wall cavities, and hollow trees. They swarm in early summer. They have a barbed sting and die once this is used but will sting when provoked. Untreated infestations can cause contamination of food, harm to mortar and building fabric, and threats of stings. Some people may experience anaphylactic shock on being stung and will require prompt treatment.

Flies: Whether they are blue bottle or fruit flies, these pests carry a wide variety of diseases such as food poisoning and dysentery.

Moths: The two moths most commonly found in UK homes doing damage to natural fibres are the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). It is the immature larvae, rather than the adult moths, that cause the damage to natural fibres such as woollen clothing, upholstery and carpets. Females lay eggs within natural fibres, which hatch between 4 and 10 days in summer months and up to three weeks in colder weather.

Rodents

Mice: House mice are active all year, nesting in quiet, warm places such as lofts, or cavity walls. They constantly gnaw, damaging furnishings, and chew packaging to access food. Mice are known to spread disease such as hantavirus, salmonella, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV).

Rats: Brown rats are the most common in the UK. Signs of infestation include droppings, smear marks and teeth marks on electrical cables which can be a fire hazard. Rats also are known to spread diseases including leptospirosis or Weil’s disease, salmonella, listeria, Toxoplasma gondii and hantavirus.

Birds and others

Pigeons: For some people, pigeons serve as entertainment that can be bought with a few stale crusts of bread. For others, pigeons are nothing more than “rats with wings” that carry pathogens that spread harmful diseases. These include E. coli, encephalitis, histoplasmosis, candidiasis and salmonella. Bird mite infestations are rare but are likely to occur during late spring to early summer. Problems can arise from mites from abandoned birds’ nests finding their way into buildings and feeding upon humans once the bird host is no longer a source of food.

Squirrels: Grey squirrels were introduced in this country during the nineteenth century; they now occupy most of the mainland of England and Wales. They are resident in woodland as well as urban parks and gardens. The main threat from squirrels is that they enter roof spaces and chew woodwork, strip insulation from wiring and water pipes, and drown in open water tanks causing contamination.

Foxes: Foxes are increasingly seen in urban and suburban areas as well as rural areas. The fox is primarily carnivorous and they are highly effective scavengers, finding waste in towns and cities plentiful. The law prevents the use of poisons or illegal traps or snares to control foxes, and it is illegal to shoot them in urban areas. Foxes can carry toxocariasis, a parasitic roundworm which can be passed to humans. Infection is extremely rare and only affects around two people per million in the UK each year. Fox faeces may contain bacteria which can cause sickness in humans, so faeces should not be directly handled.

Bats: Bats may only be handled by those licensed to do so. They cause no direct harm though their droppings may cause problems with smell and insect infestations. Rabies-like virus which infects insectivorous bats. It is very rare; only six confirmed cases have been identified in the world.

Pest contaminating kitchen

What are the different methods used in controlling pests? There are many types of pest control that work in a variety of ways, depending on the kind of infestation you are experiencing.

These include:

Physical Pest Control Methods: Physical pest control relies on the use of equipment and pest proofing. Most physical pest control methods should be carried out by an experienced and qualified pest controller. Some physical methods exterminate pests or remove them; other methods focus more on prevention.

Pest proofing which involves keeping pests out of your home, business or garden by creating a barrier to entry. It can also include eliminating their nests. By taking away a pest’s breeding ground, it can stop infestations from developing. It will also stop any current infestation from getting worse.

Traps and bait stations are the most common of all the physical pest control methods. Traps are a great method for capturing small animals like rodents and insects. If you want traps to work effectively, they have to be checked regularly and any pests removed.

Temperature Control. Extremes of temperature, both hot and cold, can control pests. For example, heat treatment will kill bedbug adults, eggs and larvae at certain temperatures. At the other end of the scale, placing grown produce in cold storage containers slows down or eliminates the growth of insects.

The most natural types of pest control would involve going down the biological route. This type of pest control doesn’t use any sort of pesticides or chemicals. Instead it uses nature to fight off pest infestations. The usual way of practicing this type of pest control is to introduce natural predators into the environment.

Chemical Pest Control Methods: The most well-known way of controlling pests is by using pesticides and rodenticides. Chemical types of pest control have been seen as reliable, and tackle a large portion of the pest population. Pesticides are usually used in certain circumstances where no other method will work. Examples of chemical pest control include:

Poison baits are mainly used in conjunction with some physical methods of controlling pests, such as traps. Many poisons used in pest control are in the form of gel or in pellets. Poisons are intended to be eaten by the pest, and whatever isn’t eaten gets taken back to the nest to cull the population at source.

Insecticides. These chemicals specifically target and kill insects. They come in the form of sprays and granules, and should, ideally, be handled with care. The granule form of insecticides is aimed at treating garden pests such as slugs and snails. The spray form can help control aphids, and sprays are also still used on non-organic crops.

Rodenticides are a very lethal type of pesticide. They are incredibly strong and are used in the treatment of rodents. They should be handled by a qualified pest technician. A lot of pest controllers don’t use rodenticides any longer because of the danger level involved to wildlife.

Why is physical pest control preferable to chemical poisons?

Physical and biological types of pest control are better for the environment. Using physical or biological techniques to control pests means you won’t be exposed to potentially damaging chemicals; the toxicity can be harmful.

Also, more and more insects are developing a resistance to pesticides. However, it can be difficult to get rid of all pests in a natural way. You should always weigh up the pros and cons of each treatment.

People controlling pests

Who can carry out pest control?

Whilst as individuals we can deal with the odd ants’ nest in the garden or a few flies in the house in summer, usually pest control is carried out by qualified, licensed pest controllers particularly in commercial premises.

Pest controllers should be qualified and licensed, and it is a legal requirement that anyone who uses professional pesticides has a specified certificate in the use of pesticides.

How to control pests?

All business owners have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers. Unfortunately, as we have seen previously, while office buildings, food service premises, hospitality locations, healthcare establishments and other working environments are usually only designed to be inhabited by humans, they can become the permanent base for a variety of common pest species.

Businesses have a duty of care to maintain a clean, safe and pest-free environment at all times. As such, they are expected to invest in professional commercial pest control services to ensure the early detection, prevention and control of pests on their premises.

Food law requires the implementation of pest free principles. These include regular monitoring for signs of pests and situations that may lead to or increase the risk of pest infestations; taking pest control action to remove the source of infestation; and keeping records of pest incidences and the measures used to prevent, monitor and control infestations.

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