Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

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Grocery stores and supermarkets offer tasty treats for pests

Grocery stores and supermarkets are responsible for the packaging, storage, and sale of many food products that consumers purchase every day. Consequently, industry leaders must consistently deliver safe, quality goods fit for the general public.

Pest infestations at any point in the supply chain can compromise the retail value of the product, may contribute to the spread of disease, and result in serious financial loss.

That’s bad news for these businesses, especially as they are prone to attracting all manner of pests from moths and birds to cockroaches and other scavengers.

Read on to find out about the main pests to look out for and how you can prevent an infestation.


Infamous in the food retail industry, mice and rats spread disease, consume products meant for sale, and are generally unclean.

As omnivores, rats and mice consume milk, meat, vegetables, eggs, grains, nuts, poultry, fruits, fish, trash, and even common household items like soap.

They are opportunistic feeders and, if given the chance, they will infest warehouses, food processing plants, and grocery stores. Since favoured foraging and nesting sites include dumpsters and sewers, the presence of rodents around food products can even contribute to the transmission of diseases.

To combat rodents in your commercial operation:

  • Conduct regular maintenance to ensure there are no openings for the rodents to get in.
  • Ask your staff to stay alert, the sooner they report a sighting the sooner the problem can be dealt with.
  • If you are worried about rodents call in the experts. It’s much easier to prevent them from setting up shop in your business than deal with the fallout if they do.
  • Regularly clean and rotate garbage cans or bins.
  • Keep dumpsters as far away from the building as possible.
  • Seal and cracks, crevices or openings large enough for rodents to fit into.



Indian meal moth larvae will consume seeds, grains, cereals, dehydrated herbs, and dried pet food, making grocery stores and supermarkets a highly attractive location for these pests.

These larvae can make pantry products unfit for consumption. Accidental ingestion of moth cocoons or larvae can cause gastrointestinal irritation and an upset stomach causing retail establishments to lose business and profits over time.

To guard against an infestation of Indian meal moths:

  • Store pantry items in airtight containers.
  • Vacuum up spilled foods promptly.
  • Use pheromone traps.
  • Look out for the silk webbing left behind by the larvae.



Grain beetles are pervasive in businesses across Canada, attracted to nearly any stored dry food product, particularly cereals, breakfast foods, flour, dried fruits and meats, pet foods, and many other items.

Meanwhile, flour beetles survive Canadian winters in warm supermarkets, where they can find the finely milled starches like flour and meal they need to survive.

The damage these beetles cause by feeding on and laying eggs within these stored products can be swift-acting and long-lasting. Their presence leads to spoiled food, illness, and can even hurt private and public economic growth and stability.

To stop grain and flour beetles invading:

  • Regularly inspect cereals, flour, cake mixes, and noodles for signs of infestation.
  • Store all milled grain and starches in airtight glass, metal, or heavy plastic containers.
  • Keep food storage areas clean and sanitary.



Cockroaches seek out businesses where they can find warm, damp shelter close to food and water. Once there, cockroaches will scavenge virtually anything, including glue, leather, fabric, soap, toothpaste, common pantry items, and any other products you may have at your store.

Cockroaches create an unsanitary situation and can pose various health threats to humans. Eating food contaminated by cockroaches may cause food poisoning, these pests can also spread harmful bacteria by crawling through garbage and sewers to food preparation surfaces.

To stop cockroaches invading:

  • Follow a strict daily sanitation routine.
  • Seal entry points around your facility.
  • Inspect incoming supplies, especially any corrugated boxes.
  • Regularly inspect your premises for signs of activity.
  • Periodically inspect and clean employee lockers.
  • Use organic cleaners to help eliminate the grease and grime pests feed on and breed in.
  • Implement a deep-cleaning schedule and assign staff specific roles to ensure cleanliness is a constant priority.
  • Take out trash and rotate trash cans regularly.



Birds, like starlings and pigeons, are major nuisances in the retail industry. The birds can nest in warehouses or find their way inside grocery stores and supermarkets, where they contaminate stores of products. Both starling and pigeon droppings also  promote the growth of pathogenic fungus.

Additionally, pigeons are known carriers of toxoplasmosis, salmonella and other germs which can cause food poisoning. Like rodents, they are also hosts for fleas, lice, mites, and other secondary pests.

To prevent birds taking over your business:

  • Repair and seal any exterior cavities where birds can nes.
  • Cover vents and other unsealable openings with wire mesh.
  • You can also try placing fake statuettes of predatory birds near ledges, and using loud noises and/or water sprays to scare them away.
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