21 March 2018

Ticking the box - the value of maintenance cycles for effective pest control

Pest management support | PestAware

A pest management maintenance cycle plays a significant role in health and safety, well-being, and upholding the reputation of a business. Find out how to implement a robust pest control maintenance cycle. 

The importance of Pest Control maintainance cycles

Effective pest control is varied and touches on vital operational elements.

It supports the provision of a safe and healthy facility, the maintenance of a welcoming and attractive environment and the protection of an organisation’s reputation.

In light of such significant challenges, it is critical that pest control is given the prominence it deserves.  

Prevention is better than cure

Effective pest control is an essential element of health and safety and well-being. As well as the threat of spreading diseases, infestations have a negative impact on quality of life in general.

Its significance is valued by The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), an independent, multi-disciplinary charity dedicated to the improvement of the public’s health and well-being.

RSPH informs policy and practice, and educates, empowers and supports communities and individuals to live healthily.

The Society collaborated with the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) to create the RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management – the recognised industry standard qualification for professional pest controllers. All BPCA members must only employ technicians qualified to at least this standard or equivalent.

The Royal Society for Public Health considers effective and pro-active pest control to be an essential requirement to protect the public’s health and safety and well-being.

Dr Richard Burton, Director of Qualifications at RSPH 

It’s an issue also firmly on the radar of one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations, Peabody, which provides homes and services to more than 111,000 residents and 8,000 care home services.

Peabody’s mission is to help people make the most of their lives by providing good quality and affordable homes, as well as working with communities and promoting well-being.

Ensuring customers’ health and safety needs are met is at the heart of its operations and effective pest control is a vital aspect of its work to ensure this.

Our role as a responsible landlord includes promoting well-being and safety in and around people’s homes. We work closely with local authorities and contractors in our neighbourhoods on effective pest control, which is an important part of that.

Peabody housing association, London

Reputation, and the environment, matter

Rat ouside a building

There’s also a price to pay if effective compliance is not adhered to. Pest control should be considered on quality rather than price, particularly as the fine for household companies are now in hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands - and that’s not including the damage to the company’s reputation.

A search online brings up a list of organisation after organisation fined for pest activity in their business – leaving a lasting, unwelcome impression that can be difficult to move away from.

Dee Ward Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager, said:

“Pest control is often viewed as a reactive issue. People spot a rat or come across a wasps’ nest and a call is made for help.

 “But what if it is a customer seeing a rat in a hotel’s leisure facilities, a mouse scurrying across a restaurant - or a child is stung by a swarm of wasps. Clearly, a responsible organisation with pride in its reputation would view a reactive call in such scenarios as too little too late.

"Organisations who regard pest control as a peripheral matter or an unnecessary expense are taking a massive risk. But with BPCA ticking all boxes to protect UK organisations from the issue, there is no excuse for cutting corners.”

A blueprint of good practice

Not only can poor quality pest control, or even a total lack of it, damage reputations and impact on health and safety – it can also take its toll on the environment.

Ultimately, the actions of poorly trained, unprofessional pest controllers can create significant problems for nature and wildlife.

An example of professional, highly-targeted pest control activity balancing health and safety and the environment is illustrated in a recent project carried out across the Shepway coastal area.

Dealing with rats along the cliff face, the work was awarded to a professional pest controller under a tender process with Shepway District Council to ensure the work is carried out to stringent safety guidelines.

The contractor, Bounty Pest Control, is a full member of BPCA and holds the necessary training and qualifications to be able to apply rodenticides under the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU).

barn-owl-1107397 1280

Under the banner “Think Wildlife”, CRRU promotes best practice and responsible rodent control, thereby protecting wildlife from rodenticide exposure. 

It’s important to us to ensure the work was undertaken by a BPCA member contractor who subscribed to the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use which aims to protect our environment and the wildlife within it.

Environmental Protection Team, Shepway District Council

Taking control


The most effective method to ensure protection and compliance is to introduce a maintenance cycle programme, with regular, targeted activity undertaken by a BPCA member.

The pest control maintenance cycle proposal slots into an organisation’s scheduled operations to offer value and peace of mind.

A large part of pest prevention is thinking ahead and identifying potential causes and entry points before infestations occur.

A professional contractor involved in a routine maintenance cycle programme will build a complete picture of effective preventative controls which can be introduced.

This will include inspecting premises on a routine basis and reporting on the status of pest infestation, organising and undertaking a programme of treatments, as well as using pest control equipment or chemicals to control and eliminate target pests.

The contractor will also report on all inspections, detailing the programme of treatments and the chemicals used on the premises to maintain health and safety.

The sum of all parts - effective pest control adds up

Poor quality pest control can be as damaging to an organisation as the pests themselves, but regular and targeted activity, carried out by professionals, will;

  • Play a key role in keeping environments safe and secure
  • Avoid issues relating to an overuse of chemicals, which could cause potential damage and even death to non-pest species or put them into contact with humans
  • Prevent species becoming immune to treatments.

The value of a cyclical approach - what should you do between pest control visits?

Cycle between visits

PestAware - What should you do between pest control visits  pdf Version 1: March 2018 254 Kb Download
Site visit
  1. Be educated from your pest controller on current issues, recommendations for the site. Ask questions on anything you do not understand.
Between visits
  1. Action recommendations into a hierarchy of priorities and what is reasonably practicable before the next visit.
  1. Ensure staff are reporting any issues into the logbook and enquire with the pest controller for any issues thought urgent.

 Check visit schedules are on track for the contract, confirm attendance for the next site visit.

  1. Prepare for the site visit by ensuring identified recommendations have been put in place.
  1. Check accreditations and memberships of the contractor are all up to date.

Seasonal maintenance

The requirement for a regular maintenance cycle programme is reflected in the fact that pest control is required 365 days a year, seven days a week.

This graphic below shows you when certain pests are more likely to be a problem for you and your business.


PestAware - Seasonal Pestwatch pdf Version 1: March 2018 773 Kb Download

Pest types

The United Kingdom is home to many pests. Some are common and well-known throughout the country, such as ratswasps and mice.

Others are less familiar. Species such as Plaster Beetles and Cheese Skippers are often under the radar - but if you are in the construction or food industry they can have considerable impact.

A full listing is available from BPCA’s A to Z of pests which also includes advice on how to safeguard premises against the unwanted visitors and how to make an educated choice when considering pest control.

Common pest issues include:

Houseflies – The most common pest

 Common house fly

Houseflies are widespread throughout the world and are found wherever suitable breeding conditions exist, usually rotting, fermenting or at least moist organic matter, usually of high protein content. They are disease transmitting, they spoil food and are a considerable nuisance for businesses and domestic situations.

A local enforcement officer can serve notices under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 where flies cause problems for neighbouring properties, usually caused by waste sites and/or livestock housing. The lesser housefly differs slightly on its size, colouration and egg shapes; however, their preferred habitats and the potential for disease spreading is almost the same.

Rodents – The most destructive pest

 Brown Rat                                                  

Rodents, especially rats, are more prevalent when winter draws in taking refuge no doubt within the more sensitive internal areas of buildings. The onset of wetter and colder weather, coupled with the cutting of crops, will drive rats and possibly field mice to the safer, warmer and food rich internal areas of buildings and farmyards.

Bedbugs – The most difficult to treat pest  

bed bug icon

Bed bugs are most successful in densely populated areas, such as major cities. They thrive in multi-occupancy buildings, where they can freely move around and where coordinating access for control efforts is often impossible. 

Bed bugs are not restricted to the typical bedroom environments. Activity has been reported recently in some surprising places including airports, cinemas, offices, retail sites, even on public transport. As such this pest is being redefined as an ‘exposure pest’, which means that anyone can pick one up.

The route to pest control compliance

BPCA provides a trusted route to ensure compliance.

Members’ contractors can provide proofing and other preventative measures such as advice on housekeeping, storage, waste disposal, cleaning and the detection and monitoring of pest populations, which are invaluable in developing a proactive rather than a reactive approach to keeping pests at bay.

  • When selecting a pest control contractor, it can be also helpful to consider the following points.
  • Their ability to carry out a full survey of the premises and present a clear report, with action points, recommendations and a firm quotation of costs.
  • Evidence of adequate technical resources and of correctly trained and qualified service staff, supervisors and management. All BPCA registered technical employees partake in an annual CPD programme.
  • Proof of adequate public liability, product liability and employers’ liability insurance cover.
  • Reporting procedures giving clear accountability on both sides.
  • Cear contract terms to specify the pests to be covered, frequency of visits, responsibility for preventative measures, arrangements for extra treatments or emergency call-outs.

Members of BPCA offer this and many other benefits to organisations to ensure their cyclical maintenance programme is on the right track.

Find a BPCA member

The right credentials – Be protected. Professionally 

BPCA is the largest and most effective pest control initiative in the UK and operates strict membership criteria designed to deliver peace of mind to end-users.

Every member will hold at least the Level Two Award in Pest Management – a standard recognised throughout the pest control industry.

They will also hold appropriate insurance allowing them to work safely at any premises and will have been visited and assessed on a regular basis by BPCA staff to ensure they provide a thoroughly professional and consistent service.

Member companies will also hold, or at least be working towards, an initiative designed to raise standards throughout Europe.

The European Standard for Pest Management Services (EN16 636) acts as a demonstration of professional credentials and a benchmark of quality.

All BPCA members are now audited to this standard as part of their membership criteria. Many have gone one step further and become CEPA Certified®.

It defines best practice and acts as an assurance that member companies are fully qualified to deal with all pest species and are experts on integrated pest management, the safe use of biocides and health and safety issues.

Find a BPCA member

Effective Pest Control service procurement

BPCA suggests a model effective pest control service procurement template to help organisations understand the process involved.

Pest Control maintainance cycle by BPCA

BPCA can help you with your planning (points 1-4), contact technical@bpca.org.uk

PestAware - Effective Pest Control service procurement pdf Version 1: March 2018 266 Kb Download

An educated approach

BPCA is also on hand to help inform service users with a range of initiatives, from planning their pest control maintenance to learning more about the industry.

Associate membership is available for clients and end users, which allows access to the BPCA technical team to support queries with pest control maintenance.

As an end user, you will benefit from some of the BPCA Foundation training courses, which address the requirements of a wide-range of industry sectors. Associate members also benefit from significant discounts. 

PPC Magazine is also produced to keep those with a responsibility for pest control abreast of latest developments, innovations and industry news.

Exhibitions organised by BPCA provide another invaluable opportunity to find out more on the subject. PPC Live and PestEx run on alternate years.

Finally, BPCA Codes of Practice outline the responsibilities and correct practices that members are expected to adhere to. The Codes are subject to regular review by the BPCA Servicing Committee or are dictated by changes to legislation. They are publicly available to view, enabling service users to understand the professionalism BPCA members work to.

Find a BPCA member

PestAware - What should you do between pest control visits  pdf Version 1: March 2018 254 Kb Download
PestAware - Seasonal Pestwatch pdf Version 1: March 2018 773 Kb Download
PestAware - Effective Pest Control service procurement pdf Version 1: March 2018 266 Kb Download

Source: PestAware

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