Glynn is a one of our finest pest control technicians. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about pest control and interestingly post war memorabilia, but that’s another blog. I took a day trip to his ‘patch’ (Marlow and surrounding areas) to glean an insight into what our technicians do. And it wasn’t to feed the ducks in the park or take photos of the magnificent piece of ironmongery spanning the Thames.
“If you see a cockroach or rat, we’ve failed,” Glynn said cryptically as I hopped into his red van with Rentokil emblazoned on the side. Dressed in matching uniforms like two capeless crusaders we edged forth into the Maidenhead traffic to fight grime.
Except, it quickly turned out after a couple of visits that there wasn’t a lot of grime to fight.
Effective pest control is about managing the environment and educating people how to not sustain unwanted ‘wildlife’. Most of our business is b2b, and many of our clients are on a service contract. We put systems in place and advise on hygiene issues to ensure that their pub, hotel, factory, office block or restaurant is pest free.
First stop on our Tour-de-Berkshire is a popular chain-restaurant in Marlow. The van was skillfully parallel parked by Glynn and after a discreet nod to the staff we headed straight to the back where the bins are.
Marlow is a charming town full of historic buildings. It’s also near the river. Rats love rivers. They swim, they burrow in the banks and they hoover up the bread crumbs the very well fed ducks and geese leave. Unlike mice, rats need water to survive and can eat up to a third of their body weight in food a day. They are scavengers and will eat anything, even soap, Glynn reveals. Rats are extremely fast breeders with a short gestation period resulting in fifty offspring or more per year. Unless a rat problem is tackled fast, it can quickly get out of control. When Rentokil first accepted the contract the restaurant had a big rat issue, simply down to incorrect storage of rubbish, aggravated by staff and customers leaving behind unwanted food.
Rats can carry Weil’s disease in their urine which may contaminate food preparation surfaces and other kitchen equipment. Restaurants and other businesses handling food can be closed by Environmental Health departments if a rat is detected.
To keep the rats in check and away from the restaurant Glynn had placed a number of bait boxes. He checked all of them and there was no evidence of rodent activity. The rubbish was secured in big dumpsters which was inaccessible to rats. Rats aren’t stupid – if there’s no food they won’t hang around.
Glynn completed an online report on his fancy electrical device, printed out a copy and handed it to the Restaurant Manager. Keeping records of pest control management is important to present to local council health inspectors when they visit. Poor hygiene standards can, in the worst case scenario, lead to closure.
Next stop was a pub in Cookham to treat a wasps nest which had been disturbed by decorators. The wasps were angrily swarming in the attic, stinging the workmen and posed a potential risk to customers. After sighting the nest in his binoculars, Glynn put on his protective gear and hooked up all of his poles to create an extremely long pole of which insecticide would channel through straight into the heart of the nest and bring an end to the flurry of flying beasts. Wasp’s natural food source is spiders and insects but they are also are scavengers with a fondness for the sweet and sticky. Raiding a bin is far easier than catching a fly. Like any pest control management- limit their food source and wasps won’t multiply en-masse.
Final stop for the little red van was a grand old house on a large estate. The house itself has been on contact for years, and has a number of preventative systems in place which has resulted in few call-outs. A historical problem has been moths in a storage cupboard, but a clever light seems to be working well and detracting the moths away from the damaging business of nibbling. All the kitchens were spotlessly clean, all the cockroach and mouse traps discreetly located close to skirting beneath furniture were empty. A report was filled in and given to the manager who carefully filed it way in readiness for the dreaded health inspector. A couple of wasps nests were treated then it was time for head back to HQ.
My standard Rentokil-issue boiler suit and coordinating red and grey fleece didn’t even get the slightest bit dirty. There was no grime to fight. And I didn’t even glimpse a single rodent or cockroach. All of our clients were successfully managing to keep their unwanted visitors away from their paying customers and most definitely out of the sight of the dreaded health inspector.
If you are interested in the food hygiene rating of your local take-away, clubs, pubs and restaurant visit the Score on the Doors website.
You can meet Glynn and take a trip out with him on YouTube.