In the current financial climate it is understandable that some businesses are finding trading difficult and are looking to cut back on expenditure. Some companies may feel that pest control services and contracts are an area where savings are possible. However, be warned that the long term cost of cutting back on pest prevention and pest control may far outweigh any short term financial gain.
A pest control contract should be viewed as an insurance policy. It should be seen as part of a ‘due diligence’ defence for a business owner to show that they have done what is reasonably practicable to protect people and products from pest infestation. As with all insurance policies, you need to adhere to certain conditions, and these will be the recommendations given by the pest controller in their report. So if you decide to go without an insurance policy, then what are the risks?
One of the main risks associated with pests is disease. These can be passed on to staff or on to customers via contaminated products. Rats, for example, carry Weil’s disease in their urine, an infection that presents with flu like symptoms but can be deadly. Cockroaches and housefly can transfer a number of illnesses due to their unsavoury feeding habits, and birds such as pigeons and their droppings can carry disease and cause respiratory illness. Any employer who ignored such pest activity and allowed employees or customers to fall ill would find themselves in serious trouble with enforcement bodies such as the Environmental Health department, with heavy fines and jail being possible. Combined with the bad publicity that surrounds Environmental Health prosecutions, businesses can struggle to survive.
The cost of a pest infestation can also be heavy in terms of damage to stock and equipment. Mice for example feed ‘little and often’, taking food from dozens of locations in a single night. Mice are also incontinent and freely urinate and defecate on every surface they come in to contact with. This can result in the destruction of huge quantities of stock contaminated by mouse activity. Rodents must also gnaw to stunt the growth of their incisor teeth. This again leads to damage, often shutting machinery down when power cables are chewed through. Every year, a number of properties are damaged and destroyed by rodents causing fires and floods with their gnawing habits.
As you can see, the cost of pest infestation can be high. Disease, damage, prosecution and bad publicity can all be caused by unchecked pest infestations. A pest control contract with a suitably insured, trained and qualified company will not necessarily guarantee no pest activity. However, regular inspection visits with a competent contractor will act as an early warning system, with which pest activity can be flagged and dealt with before it becomes a threat to the business. A contract that contains a call out programme is also highly beneficial as it ensures that any pest activity, taking place between routine visits can be rapidly dealt with.
If you would like more information on visit frequency, scope of contract and our charges, please contact us.