Educating your employees on pest control

Pest control may not be something you've thought about but it is a genuine problem: so how can you make sure your workforce knows the signs to stop it early?

Pest control may not be something you’ve thought about but it is a genuine problem: so how can you make sure your workforce knows the signs to stop it early?

While offices, restaurants and other working environments are usually only temporarily inhabited by humans, they can become a permanent base for some unwelcome visitors. Discovering a pest in your work environment is, at best, an unpleasant experience and, at worst, a major health and safety issue.

There are several, long-standing acts in place to ensure businesses take due diligence when it comes to pest control. For example, the Food Safety Act 1990 and Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949.

It’s always best to have a proactive pest control strategy in place to ensure compliance and that any pest problem is identified as early as possible, when it will hopefully be easier to contain and treat.

Employees are an important part of any proactive pest control strategy, as they provide an army of eyes and ears around a business able to spot the signs of a pest problem.

Previously employees may have been sent on a pest awareness training course, however online learning platforms are now becoming an increasingly popular method of educating employees. The benefit of online training is that it can be accessed on demand and remotely, helping to make additional studying more effective, and more fun.


One such platform is myLearning, Rentokil Pest Control’s interactive online platform designed to help businesses train their employees on the importance of pest control within their business.

>See also: Why your company should develop a mentoring scheme

PestAwareness training is specifically designed to improve employee knowledge of pest compliance issues in key areas, including health and safety and legislation. By investing in such courses, businesses can ensure employees are educated on the signs to look out for and so they can reduce the likelihood of an infestation taking hold.  

A number of PestAware courses are offered through the myLearning platform, including Bedbug Awareness, designed to provide training for hotel owners and managers, along with general PestAwareness training for small business owners. Each myLearning course is split into easy-to-digest modules, and is interactive, using facts, infographics and videos to educate the user in an engaging way.

The courses challenge employees with mini quizzes which are used to validate learning throughout the training process, with a number of multiple choice questions; for example: A bed bug can complete its lifecycle in as little as; one year, two months, one month, or one week? Such questions are designed to help employees understand pest behaviour, and how an untreated pest problem can escalate.

Due to the number of foreign nationals in industries such as hospitality, myLearning Bed Bug training is now available in Polish as well as English. On completion of each module a personalised certificate is generated, which can be used to prove due diligence and training qualifications.

Pests leave their mark on a business in numerous different ways. In order to correctly interpret their presence, employees need to be able to:

Identify the characteristics of common pests

An adult brown rat can produce up to 40 droppings in a day with each dropping measuring 10-12mm while a house mouse produces approximately 80 droppings measuring 3 – 7 mm each. 

Recognise the basic biology of the animal

Rodents have continuously growing teeth and will therefore have to gnaw on various items to keep them in shape. Gnawing habits are a major cause of fires, as rodents may chew on electrical cables. Bird pests, such as gulls and feral pigeons can cause damage to cars and buildings as their faeces have a chemical in it which can damage paintwork.

Understand the issues surrounding an infestation

This includes the spread of diseases. For example, cockroaches can spread e.coli and salmonella, contaminating different food sources. Furthermore, if an employee sees a cockroach during the day then it’s an indication of a heavier infestation as they are normally nocturnal creatures.

Identify good housekeeping techniques 

Simple things like ensuring that food waste is properly sealed and stored can make a big difference, as can making sure that any refuse on site is kept in closed bins. Storage should be kept away from walls where possible and clutter kept to a minimum, as this effectively provides places for pests to hide.

>Related: Working smart – five ways to keep your staff loyal

Seal holes in the exterior of the property with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement. Rodents are also known to enter buildings through damaged drains, so it’s important to make sure that these are well maintained and are checked regularly.

Recognise the different types of pest control available for different species

Solutions such as Luminous fly units are more effective than traditional electric grid fly killer units. This is particularly true in food environments, as the glue inside a luminous fly unit will stop flying insect fragments dispersing, a common issue with the electric grid systems.

Final thoughts

These five elements run throughout the different courses and will give your company’s front line workers the knowledge to recognise the tell-tale signs of pest infestations, starting the process for its remediation.

Better understanding and implementation of prevention methods will save businesses time and money when dealing with pest infestations. Get in touch with a pest control expert if you are unaware of how your business might be responsible for pest infestations, or if you’d like to know more about Rentokil’s myLearning courses.

Further reading: Turning workplace wellbeing into business success

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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