Restaurant Pest Control
Restaurants and bars are often required to have pest control services. This is because the local, state, or federal government require restaurants to have pest control services.
Consumers that eat at restaurants trust that the establishment will serve them safe, delicious food. In this post, we will discuss the major pests that infest eating establishments and commercial kitchens.
Common Pests that Infest Restaurants
Roaches in Restaurants
When most people think about a pest infestation in a restaurant, they think of roaches. Roaches are associated with filth, bad housekeeping, and dirty establishments. Depending on the species of roach in the restaurant, this may be the case.
Cockroaches are associated with dirty, or unclean places because that is where they survive and thrive. Roaches will feed on any organic material including food scraps, other insects, and even dead roaches! They are known to carry and harbor many diseases and can cause allergic reactions.
When I inspect a restaurant for roach activity, I will pay particular attention to certain areas. Roaches prefer areas of warmth, food availability, and moisture. Restaurant kitchens with their shiny stainless steel appliances and countertops can appear very clean and tidy. Inspecting underneath the cabinets, appliances, and countertops can reveal a different story.
Roach Inspections in Restaurants
Inspection for roaches in a restaurant should focus on warm, moisture prone areas. These areas include under, and behind appliances, dish washing equipment, under counters, under the ovens/fryers/grills, basement, utility closets, and trash areas. Visually seeing live or dead roaches is a good indication that there is a roach problem. Most of the time if the restaurant has called in for pest inspection, it means they are already experiencing a roach infestation.
Cockroaches can be introduced into an establishment through many different means. The sewer system and drains can allow roaches, especially the American Cockroach to enter the building. Roaches can also be introduced by the food distributor. Cockroaches love to hang out and hitch rides inside of cardboard boxes. Most of the food that is delivered to the restaurants comes in cardboard boxes, and the deliveries can occur a few times a week.
Roach Treatments in Restaurants
Treatment for cockroaches in restaurants can be a challenge. The challenge in treatment comes from the level of cooperation that occurs between the restaurant and the pest control company. As a pest control company we can use sprays, baits, and dusts to treat for roaches. If the restaurant eliminates the moisture issues and thoroughly cleans up at the end of every night, the cockroach treatments can be very effective. Treatments should focus on where the roaches are found and should always be conducted in accordance to the label.
Follow-up treatments are almost always required to eliminate a cockroach infestation. It is almost always a good idea to have a pest control service plan so that small issues do not become infestations. Service plans will also treat and prevent many of the other insect infestations found in restaurants.
Rodents in Restaurants
After roaches, rodent infestations are the second most common pest found in restaurants. Rodents, like roaches, are in the restaurant because there is one or all of the following: food, moisture, harborage. Rodents and their droppings carry many diseases which are harmful to humans. They can also physically damage equipment, pantry items, and even the building itself!
Rodent Inspections for Restaurants
Rodents, mice specifically, only need about the size of a nickel to enter a structure. If the restaurant is connected to other buildings, then the rodents can probably come and go between all of the buildings. Finding out where the rodents are entering the structure can greatly increase the chances of eradicating the issue. Check out our video on interior and exterior rodent inspections to see where are the common entrances.
Treating for rodents in restaurants can be difficult if cooperation does not exist between the restaurant and pest control professional. In the best case scenario, the restaurant is cleaned nightly, moisture prone areas are eliminated, and the structure is sealed from the outside. Since rodents can chew through some pretty strong substances, simply caulking a gap is not going to be enough to seal them out. Proper door seals on the bottom of exterior doors often go a long way in keeping rodents out.
Rodent Treatments in Restaurants
When treating for rodents, there are many different options to choose from. Baiting, exclusion, and mechanical capture are the 3 most common methods. Exclusion is the best, long term approach to rodent control in restaurants. It involves sealing up the exterior perimeter of the restaurant to physically prevent rodents from entering. Depending on the restaurant and its location, rodent exclusion is not always possible. For these circumstances, the other 2 rodent treatment methods can be used.
When using rodent baits, it is VERY important to read the label in the bait and follow it exactly. Rodent bait can be very effective if applied in a smart way. Bait should be placed out of reach of restaurant employees and clients. Since rodent bait is poison, it should never be applied above or near any food prep areas. In food prep areas where bait cannot be applied, mechanical capture is the best method.
Mechanical capture includes snap traps and multiple catch stations. Snap traps are baited and when the mouse contacts the trap, the mouse is captured under a swinging bar. Multiple catch stations allow multiple mice to enter the station through the use of a spring loaded ramp. Once inside of the station, the rodents cannot escape. The downside of using mechanical traps is that they require more servicing since you will not want dead mice causing odor issues after a few weeks.
Flies in Restaurants
Flies, like roaches and rodents, are carriers of disease in restaurants. They will land on food, food prep areas, and other surfaces, potentially carrying and transmitting disease pathogens. There are multiple species of fly that are attracted to restaurants. In this section we will discuss small fruit and drain flies, and larger flies.
Small Flies in Restaurants
Small flies in restaurants can be found near drains, trash areas, sinks, dish washing equipment, soda stations, and liquor areas. Depending on the species of fly, you will find them more heavily in certain areas. Drains, sinks, beer tap drains, soda drains, should be rinsed every night and hot water should be dumped down the drain. If there is organic material in the drain trap, flies will breed and accumulate there. In this case, a properly labeled chemical designed for drain cleaning can be applied to remove the organic material. Liquor bottles with easy pour spouts should be covered nightly to prevent flies from entering the bottle.
Drain Foaming and Treatments
Treating the floor drains and sink drains with a foam can effectively resolve fly and disease issues. Our foam utilizes a disinfectant, insecticide, and cleaner to remove organic material and kill any disease and pests.
You can learn more about our drain foaming treatments here.
Large Flies in Restaurants
Large flies present many of the same problems as small flies. Often I will see fly capture strips hung throughout the kitchen area. These strips are unsightly, and in many areas are not allowed for a food inspection. Large flies can originate from outside, or from decaying organic matter found inside of the restaurant. If the restaurant has a rodent issue, a dead mouse in a basement can provide plenty of resources for large flies to populate.
Large flies can be treated by applying an approved insecticide to areas where they land and frequent. Obviously read the label on the chemical and only apply it where the label states. Fly lights can also be effective against large flies in restaurants. The fly lights attract the flies using a light and then either trap them on a glue board or electrocute them using the light. Make sure to change the glue board behind the fly light monthly to maintain effectiveness.
Stored Product Pests in Restaurants
Stored product pests can be found in restaurants. These pests include grain beetles, flour beetles, and others. These pests are usually brought into the restaurant through a contaminated food delivery. Unlike roaches, these pests will be mixed in with the flour or grain. Once identified, the contaminated food should discarded, the area should be treated, and the supplier should be notified.
Nuisance Pests in Restaurants
Although not directly linked to food borne illness, nuisance insects can give the impression of a dirty establishment. The most common nuisance pests I see in restaurants include ants and spiders. Depending the species of ant, they may be attracted to food, moisture, or both. Treatment should focus on identifying and eliminating the nest. Spiders are predatory pests and are present because there are insects around. Eliminating other pests and treating for spiders will eliminate the issue.
Restaurant Pest Control Service Plans
All pest control companies offer service plans for restaurants. These plans allow a regularly scheduled inspection and treatment of the restaurant to prevent infestations. As we saw above, pests can be introduced into a restaurant in many ways. Unless you intend to put your restaurant into a bubble and strip search all employees and clients, insects can be brought into the restaurant. What a pest control service plan does is prevent infestation after the insect has be introduced. Depend on many factors, restaurants can be serviced weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Restaurant Shut Down Horror Story
I once serviced a restaurant that we shut down due to multiple health concerns. They were infested with rodents and roaches. The restaurant had to hire a professional cleaning company to come in a essentially power wash the inside of the kitchen because it was that nasty. Roaches and rodents were EVERYWHERE!
We successfully treated the roaches using a spray with a insect growth regulator. The rodents were treated with a rodent bait. After a few days we were able to get control of the pest issues. All the while, the restaurant was shut down because it was waiting to be re-inspected. Most of their stored food was contaminated and had to be thrown away.
Moral of the story
Had this restaurant owner had a pest control service plan, they could have avoided this entire ordeal. The owner lost all of their restaurant revenue for 4 days, paid us to treat, and paid a company to clean. The amount of money the owner lost directly was in the tens of thousands of dollars! A pest control service plan is cheap compared to the lost money of being shut down or the lost customers that being shut down caused. Restaurant pest control is extremely important to your business and to your clients.
Chester County Restaurants
Prudential Pest Solutions offers restaurant pest control services. We are experts in treating and preventing pests that impact restaurants and bars. Our restaurant pest control is designed to protect your brand so you can focus on many outstanding food. If you have restaurant in Chester County, we would love to sit down and show you how our services can make your pests disappear!
Restaurant pest control should be preventative in nature. Let us protect your name, brand, and business from pests!
Give us a call or send us a message and we can get you pest free today!