During the ongoing global pandemic and economic crisis, many organizations and businesses are under great pressure. In the fight against COVID-19, critical areas of social care, healthcare and the food supply system are at the forefront. Companies that supply a variety of goods and services to these sectors and other sectors to keep them going are also essential for society.
Pests Issues and Public Health
In urban settings around the world, several types of pests are disease vectors. They contaminate and eat food sources and cause damage to buildings. The WHO determined that rodents and their ectoparasites alone are responsible for more than 30 significant pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, viruses and helminths.
Rodents are not the only problem. Other pests are a health and economic threat, including flies, birds, cockroaches, bedbugs, stored product insects, ticks and fleas.
For many of these opportunistic pests, commercial buildings in all industries including hospitals, distribution plants, warehouses, food processing, education, restaurants, hotels, offices and also residential accommodation provide ideal environments.
Coronavirus – How Pests Affect Buildings, Contents & People
Buildings can provide a perfect harbourage for pests to shelter and breed, especially when there is little or no disturbance from people during the lockdown. Pests can damage many parts of buildings to gain access and get around buildings to find food and nesting places.
Buildings can offer the perfect conditions for pests to shelter and reproduce, particularly when during the lockdown there is little to no disruption from people. To gain access and get around buildings in search of food and harbourage places, pests can be responsible for a lot of damage. For instance, rodents gnaw materials and damage structures for nesting, which can lead to electrical fires:
Some birds can make damages to roofs and cause drain blockages, resulting in flood damage, and all pests contaminate surfaces with their droppings. With access to food supplies, including unattended waste bins, pest numbers will quickly increase and remedial work with pest control, sanitation, disinfection and repairs to regain control can escalate rapidly.
Pests also affect the wellbeing and health of staff, customers and residents. As well as spreading illnesses pest infestations result in stress and anxiety.
The Essential Role of Pest Management During COVID-19
We have illustrated the importance of keeping buildings safe during the lockdown, not only for essential business sectors that must keep their operations going but also for businesses that had to close and for residential homes. Each business sector is at risk with specific pests that could lead to health impacts and additionally cause financial losses and damage to reputation.
Pest management plays an essential role in helping key industries and organisations to keep offering healthy goods and services, avoid outbreaks of disease and reduce downtime risks. After the removal of the coronavirus lockout restrictions, unchecked pest infestations can hinder a building’s return to normal use.
We recommend to track and deal with infestations efficiently during this period by using pest control systems that will greatly reduce overall costs.
Pest Control – An Essential Service Around the World?
Professional pest management is a critical service to support public health. The risks of spread of Covid-19 are offset by the risks of inadequate management and control of pest species.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic confinement started, pest control has been explicitly deemed “essential service” in many countries including:
- February 2020 in Spain, USA, Italy.
- March 2020: it was also announced that pest control is an essential service in Northern Ireland.
- April 2020: Pest controllers also became “Key Workers” in the UK.
In March 2020, the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA-Ireland) wrote to the Taoiseach for designating pest management professionals as key workers during Covid-19 pandemic. Check the letter HERE
The response came to the NPTA that while it was not possible to list every single essential activity, a comprehensive list including categories of essential workers is available and maintained on the government’s website. The list describes all activities and support services that are essential.
You can check the list of essential services from the Department of the Taoiseach HERE
Pest Control Services are of course implicitly listed as support to a number of categories of essential services, but they are also specifically included under:
- Services relating to public health
- Food safety and environmental services
- Residential care services