The most common methods of pest control in 2023

The most common methods of pest control in 2023


Pests, such as insects, rodents and birds, can contaminate food. Their presence in and around food establishments needs to be more sanitary.

There are many risks associated with the presence of pests in food establishments. They can:

  • contaminate food, food contact surfaces and equipment;
  • spread diseases to humans;
  • compromising food packaging, causing spoilage;
  • cause property and equipment damage.

It is important to control the risks associated with pests by preventing their entry into buildings, detecting and eliminating them, and preventing food contamination.

The most common methods of pest control in 2023


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has created this document as a guideline to help food businesses comply with the requirements set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

It’s your choice

You may use other guidance materials developed by provincial counterparts, industry associations, international partners, or academic bodies as long as these lead to the outcomes set out in the regulations. Always ensure that the guidance materials you choose are relevant to your business, product, and market requirements.

What’s included

This document highlights the following:

  • prevention and assessment of the presence of harmful organisms;
  • pest control measures;
  • Establishment of a pest control program.

What’s not included

Although the document provides examples of pest control activities, it needs to be completed; the pest control measures depend on the size and complexity of the food business and are unique to each business.

Roles and responsibilities

Regulated parties are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the food products and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. When a regulated party is required to implement a preventive control plan (PCP), the plan is developed, documented and implemented. The regulated party monitors its implementation and verifies the effectiveness of all control measures established.

The CFIA verifies a food business’s compliance by conducting inspections and surveillance. When instances of non-compliance are identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement action.

pest control

Prevention of the presence of harmful organisms

Pest control begins with the condition of the establishment, its operation and maintenance, inside and out. The following are preventative measures we recommend you take to reduce the risk of pest intrusion and infestation in an establishment.


  • Buildings are constructed and maintained to be bird, insect and rodent-proof.
  • The buildings are designed not to have places serving as shelters for harmful organisms.
  • Outdoor lighting is placed away from the building to prevent swarms of insects near entrances.


  • Fences are kept free of debris and plants.

Perimeter of buildings

  • Areas adjacent to buildings are free of debris, vegetation and stored material.
  • Note: If a herbicide is used to control weeds to eliminate pest harborage areas, follow label application directions to avoid harming plants. Plant crops in the area and not contaminate water supplies.
  • Ornamental plants and weeds are kept away from buildings.
  • The paved areas are kept dry and are maintained in such a way as to prevent the accumulation of water or stagnant water.

Unpaved areas

  • Unpaved areas are maintained to keep plant height short to reduce the number of pest harborages.
  • We recommend that you keep the lower areas of the surrounding land well-drained and maintained to prevent accumulations of water or standing water.

Loading and unloading docks (receipt)

  • Dock areas are kept free of product spills to prevent attracting pests.
  • Holes, cracks and other physical and structural damage to docks are repaired to prevent the formation of a breeding ground for pests.
  • Open spaces under the docks, if any, are clean and accessible so they can be cleaned when necessary.
  • If hydraulic levelling ramps are used, the spaces under the ramps must be clean and rodent proof.
  • Metal flashings attached to the vertical surfaces of the docks help prevent rodents from climbing on the vertical surfaces.
  • Vertical swing doors are fitted against the side, top and bottom walls to prevent the entry of pests.
  • Gaskets are very narrow and fully sealed openings to prevent entry and eliminate breeding grounds for pests.
  • The areas are kept dry and are maintained in such a way as to prevent the accumulation of water or standing water.
  • Air curtains or plastic strips can be used as insect-proof barriers and should be kept clean and in good condition.

Interior docks

  • All dock areas are in good structural condition.
  • The doors are in good condition and are watertight.
  • Air curtains or plastic strips can be used as insect-proof barriers and should be kept clean and in good condition.

Outdoor waste areas

  • Areas, where contaminated materials, waste and garbage are stored are managed to prevent the attraction and harborage of pests. Trash compactors and dumpsters are adequate to hold generated trash for at least a day and are placed on asphalt or concrete paved surfaces to facilitate cleanup. Garbage containers are kept covered or closed.
  • The areas are kept dry and are maintained in such a way as to prevent the accumulation of water or standing water.


  • Roof areas, including gutters, are kept clean and free of debris to prevent the creation of breeding grounds for pests.
  • Natural nesting and roosting sites are eliminated.
  • The exposed exterior rafters are covered with screens to prevent birds from roosting.
  • Air inlets and exhaust fans are covered with screens to prevent organisms from entering.
  • Lower areas of flat roofs are maintained to prevent pooling or standing water.

outdoor storage

  • We do not recommend any outdoor storage of food, utensils, equipment and machinery, as this creates places for pests to the harbour.
  • If you have to store anything outside the building, we recommend that you do not keep them directly on the ground and cover them to prevent contamination.

Doors and windows

  • Doors and windows are kept closed when not in use and are well sealed.
  • If the doors are used more frequently, air curtains or plastic strips can be fitted to the doors to act as a barrier against flying insects.
  • The minimum screen size is 16 meshes per 2.54 cm (in).
  • Entrances reserved for employees are equipped with automatic closing devices.
  • Areas around doors, inside and out, are kept clean and free of attractants and pest harborages.

Other entries

  • Conveyors, pipes, wires and gates that enter the building are pest-proof.

Warehouses and storage areas

  • The warehouse and storage areas have an aisle along the walls that:
    • is clean, free of debris and stored materials to prevent the creation of breeding grounds for pests;
    • Prevent the creation of breeding grounds for pests and simplify inspections;
    • Is it light in colour to facilitate the detection of rodent and insect droppings?
  • Floor expansion joints are inspected for pest activity and are properly sealed to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for pests or a possible point of entry.
  • Access aisles between rows of goods on pallets allow cleaning and inspection of the floor and the storage area.
  • Incoming ingredients and materials are inspected for infestation upon arrival.
  • All food and equipment are stored above ground on shelves or pallets.
  • Rotating inventory helps prevent infestations by reducing the buildup of old products and materials.
  • The floor drains are all covered.

Processing areas

  • Perimeter walls are inspected for pest infestation and food residue accumulations.
  • Walls, ceilings and floors are free of holes and cracks, and all structural defects are sealed to prevent the creation of breeding grounds for pests.
  • The spaces surrounding the pipes or tubes entering or leaving the processing areas are sealed.
  • Equipment, tables and utensils are kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
  • The equipment is installed in such a way as to allow access for inspection, cleaning and disinfection activities.
  • Ceiling light fixtures, piping, structures and electrical boxes are kept clean.
  • Conveyors entering and leaving the building and transported between processing areas or between different rooms are closed so as not to serve as a trail for pests.
  • The floor drains are all covered.

The most common methods of pest control in 2023

Fridges and Freezers

  • Refrigerators and freezers are inspected for cleanliness and good structural condition.
  • As with other warehousing and warehouse areas, all stored materials and equipment are kept away from walls, and aisle floors are painted lightly.
    • Rodents can infest these areas and survive, building nests in insulated walls or under the floor.
  • Doors leading to refrigerators and freezers are sealed to prevent pests from gaining access.
  • The floor drains are all covered.

Inside waste areas

  • Areas where contaminated materials or waste are stored are kept clean and free of materials that harbour pests.
  • All garbage containers are fitted with covers and cleaned frequently to prevent the accumulation of debris contributing to pest problems.

Maintenance areas

  • Workbenches and parts storage areas are inspected for the presence of pests.
  • All equipment is stored above ground to allow for cleaning and inspection.

Dining rooms, changing rooms and bathrooms

  • These spaces are kept clean and free of leftover food.
  • All lockers are cleaned regularly and inspected for the presence of pests.


  • All offices are clean and free of spilt food.
  • These spaces are also inspected regularly for evidence of the presence of pests.


You monitor all areas of the establishment for the presence of:

  • live plagues;
  • dead animals;
  • excrement;
  • damaged packaging;
  • bite marks;
  • spiderwebs;
  • Animal smells.

Capture, reduction or elimination of harmful organisms

It is important to have measures to control and eliminate pests that successfully enter the establishment. Many control measures can be applied:

  1. Physical

Physical control measures include items such as traps and electrocution devices designed to reduce the scale of problems caused by rodents and insects. The need for using these control measures will vary depending on the type of establishment.

Insect electrocution devices

This equipment can control flying insects inside food establishments, such as fruit flies, house flies and moths.

  • They are placed in places where they are unlikely to attract insects inside the building, such as near doors and windows.
  • They are not placed in spaces likely to cause food contamination when insects are electrocuted, such as in food handling areas.
  • These devices are placed at a height corresponding to the targeted insects. For example, fruit flies and house flies fly low, while moths fly higher.
  • Electrocution devices are equipped with collection trays that are inspected and cleaned frequently to prevent the accumulation of insects and insect parts.
  • The bulbs of the electrocution devices are maintained at a frequency allowing them to function properly.


Rodent traps can be placed along the inside and outside perimeters of the facility to monitor for the presence of infestations and to provide a measure of control.

  • Rodent traps can be placed around the exterior of the building, on food storage shelves, near exterior doors and storage areas.
  • Traps and bait stations are inspected regularly and more frequently when signs of infestation are evident.
  1. Chemicals

Many pesticides are registered by Health Canada for use in food establishments and are used to reduce or eliminate pests.

  • Pesticides permitted for use are registered under the Pest Control Products Act, and Pest Control Products Regulations and must be used according to label directions (available on Health Canada’s Pesticides Public Registry ).
  • Due to the risk of direct food contamination, chemical pest control products must be kept in secure storage.

The most common methods of pest control in 2023

rodent control

Only traps should be used inside an establishment, especially in processing areas.

If the bait is needed in processing or storage areas, it should be placed in a bait station and used when no activity occurs or when the storage areas are empty.

Using baits as blocks instead of pellets, granules or powders prevents pests from transporting the baits and contaminating food.

Rodent bait stations can be used in non-food areas of the establishment, such as the boiler room, offices, maintenance areas, locker rooms, waste areas and outside the establishment.

  • Bait stations are placed to be an effective rodent control measure while preventing accidental contamination of food.
  • Bait stations are numbered, and their locations are marked on the floor plan along with all other pest control devices.
  • The type of rodenticide used as bait is recorded. Bait stations are inspected and replaced on a regular basis to ensure freshness and prevent insect infestation. The old and infested bait is removed from bait stations and disposed of safely.

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insect control

Insecticide applications inside food processing establishments are generally one of three types.

  • Fumigation of a food processing establishment
  • It is complex and should be performed by a trained exterminator.
    • This application is performed when no activity is taking place. After complete fumigation, the treated area should be adequately ventilated before production activities are resumed.
  • Fogging (ultra-low volume treatment) is done when no processing activity occurs.
    • Food contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed after misting and before production activities are resumed.
  • Extra precautions should be taken to ensure food is not contaminated.
    • Note: Some fogging chemicals are approved during operating activities and should always be used by a qualified exterminator.
  • Residual insecticide and contact surface spray applications in processing areas consist primarily of spot, crack, and crevice applications.
    • Extreme caution should be used to avoid contamination of food or contact surfaces.
    • Spraying should be carried out outside of production areas during production activities.
    • All utensils and food contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed after spraying and before processing activities are resumed.
  1. Other eradication measures

Other eradication measures can be used to control insects, such as:

  • Keep the temperature inside the facility below zero for at least two days.
    • In this case, trap all pipes and hoses to avoid damaging them.
  • Seal all doors and windows and raise the temperature inside the facility above 49°C for one day.
    • In this case, remove all sensitive instruments and control devices, so they are not damaged by heat.
  • Pheromone traps can be used to monitor and identify the insects present to develop an effective control measure.
    • These traps are equipped with collection trays that are inspected and cleaned frequently to prevent the accumulation of insects and insect parts.
  • Biological control measures, which include beneficial insect species, such as predatory and parasitic insects, nematodes or pathogenic organisms to eliminate pest populations, can be used in culture environments of fresh fruits and vegetables like fields and fields greenhouses.

Animals, such as cats and dogs, cannot be used as a pest control measure in food establishments as they also pose a risk of contamination of food in the establishment.

The most common methods of pest control in 2023

Creation of a pest control program

Your pest control program should outline the following:


All individuals and positions that will be responsible for pest control activities. This could be a pest control company or on-site staff.


All rooms and areas are included as part of pest control activities. This includes areas inside and outside the facility. All pest control devices must be numbered, and their location must be indicated on the floor plan or the plan of the exterior of the building.


The rooms or areas are subject to pest control measures, the methods, products and equipment to be used.


The frequency of inspection for pest activity and the frequency of replacement of pest control products and equipment. For example, will these activities be performed daily, weekly, monthly or on another basis?


The execution of pest control activities must be detailed step by step to ensure that they are carried out in a manner that does not present any risk of contamination of food, equipment or facilities. Note: Proper steps must also be taken to prevent injury to employees.


Documents that must be completed:

  • Document templates used to record pest control activities that have been completed, corrective actions are taken, and documents demonstrating the effectiveness of your pest control measures.

Records should indicate the following:

  • who performed the task;
  • what pest control task was completed and its result;
  • the locations where the tasks were performed;
  • the date and time.

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