Supermarket Rat Control Practices.

David Bennett

The food retail category includes a large array of settings, such as bodegas, grocery stores and supermarkets. As these facilities vary greatly in size, they can attract a variety of pests, such as cockroaches, flies, rodents and the occasional bird or squirrel. Additionally, some pests that infest retail facilities will be location dependent. When we go to the supermarket to buy our food, perhaps we don’t think of the possibility of rats as we survey produce openly displayed.   That’s good, because a rat infestation would seriously compromise our market choices and the bottom line of the grocers that sell our food and if we aren’t seeing or thinking about rats when we’re there, that means the grocer has a good rat control program in place.   In this short article we will consider how supermarkets control rodents.   

Rodents can destroy inventory, incur property damage with their incessant chewing, defecation and urination which can in turn bring severe public health issues.  Therefore supermarkets implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM). (For more about IPM, click here.)   

Rat can also bring the following legal issues that no business owner wants to deal with:

  • Damage to reputation and customer trust
  • Loss of sales and profits
  • Potential closures by regulatory authorities
  • Claims for compensation

Supermarket rodent control begins with Integrated Pest Management

Rat infestations in supermarkets do happen—and sometimes not because of their own mismanagement, but of the neighbors!  A pest control company related an anecdote of a call to a supermarket.  The place smelled like rat urine and feces, but the employees had gotten so used to the smell they couldn’t tell anything was wrong.   The rat issue in the grocery store had its source in the next-door neighbor—a pig farm. By partnering with the pig farm who, as a result of this incident put their own IPM program in use, the pest control company was able to seal up entry points to the grocery store, place traps inside, outside and under the store, and the grocery store itself spent the better part of a month making repairs, sealing up openings and cleaning and sanitizing the store.  In all the pest control company trapped 250 rats.  Because the pig farm implemented a rat control program along with the grocery store, the problem was contained and managed.   Employee education is key in supermarket pest control management.   By training employees what to look for and how to report it so that reports can be documented as part of a comprehensive IPM program for effective rodent management.  Jim Fredericks, Chief Entomologist and 2014 VP of Regulatory Affairs for NPMA wrote in an article for Supermarket News, an industry journal “According to Paul Curtis, a board certified entomologist and director of commercial service for Terminix, “The number one mistake commercial facility operators, including supermarket managers, make is not providing their employees with education about their role in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and food safety – including inspection of incoming stock.”  Rats can hitch a ride in

planes, trains, boats, automobiles and your food when it’s being shipped internationally or across country.  So employee training in pest management best practices relating to IPM is absolutely essential.   Mr. Fredericks also impresses the importance of supermarkets partnering with a pest control company that will help them develop an IPM plan that best fits their business. 


IPM will ensure that supermarkets are clean and sanitary, that problem areas are identified and targeted by the least invasive method necessary (traps) with pesticides and poisons an absolute last resort to avoid customers getting ill and food contamination. 

Advantages of IPM

  • Decreased use of chemical application and greater use of traps in problem areas will reduce risks to the health of staff members and non-target animal species that may eat poisoned rats such as predatory birds, coyotes, bobcats, cougars, dogs, cats, etc.
  • Decreased use of chemical application will reduce the risk of deterioration and disfigurement of holdings.
  • Decreased use of chemical application may result in a financial savings.
    • Increased use of non-toxic and environmentally friendly exclusion products as a part of your IPM program (such as door sweeps– our RodeXit rodent proofing strips in the warehouse and at the entry points to the store prevent rats from coming in and reinfesting, and protect your doors from forklift and pallet jack collisions with the stainless steel shield protector used in tandem with the rodent proof RodeXit door strips for threshold gaps under door leaves of manual doors, the typically problematic area of the astragal gaps of double doors and gaps in-between stationary building parts fences or walls.
  • The environmental improvements made to the facility to implement an IPM program will enhance the long-term stability of the holdings over and above protection against pests.
  • IPM may be the only solution to some long-term pest problems where chemical application has not worked.
  • IPM ultimately allows the institution to have greater control over and knowledge of pest activity in their facility.
  • IPM is the pest management technique of choice for major institutions.

In this article we have explored the particular process that supermarkets have to use in order to implement the most effective pest control procedures while protecting public health, keeping an eye on customer sensitivity and toxicity management to provide the most toxic free and healthy indoor and outdoor environments while managing geographical topographical considerations to prevent infestations by a variety of pests including rodents.  Green pest control strategies are the most preferred, with toxic methods being the absolute last resort in Integrated Pest Management implementation.  IPM strategies can prevent and contain the spread of E.Coli, Staph infections, Salmonella, Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, Typhus, and SARS among a host of other diseases and bacterial infection agents within the healthcare environment. 

We are here to help PMP’s, building maintenance, property management companies, using our RodeXit rodent proofing strips in IPM as exclusion tools.

For consideration  recommended reviewing  our commercial grade, industrialized strength traps,   Review the ROI calculator for your business highlighting fiscal reasons for adding these to your arsenal , ROI Calculator link  both of these commercial grade components, traps and exclusion will prove effective in your IPM implementation .  Contact us !  for more information.

Tags: California Department of Food and Agriculture, Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, Exclusion, Fenn Trap, Food Processing industry, Food quality and safety, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, Leptospirosis, National Pest Management Association, Norway rats, NPMA, NWCOA, Pest Control, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Rat Lungworm Disease, Rodent exclusion, Rodexit, supermarket

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