Summer is the busiest season for many restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s also the busiest season for many pests.
While restaurant employees are buzzing around to help guests, pests may be buzzing around to help themselves. Since even one pest sighting can spoil the dining experience for guests, keeping pests out can be more important than ever during summer months.
What measures can you take to help ensure that pests aren’t spoiling your high-revenue season? First, be aware of which pests may be on the move. While summertime threats vary according to region, here are some pests that can be particular summer nuisances:
Flies can sneak in quickly through open doors, windows and even small cracks and crevices. On top of being irritating and annoying — especially when they land on your customers’ food — flies can also carry pathogens that can cause disease. Fruit flies can be especially bothersome for restaurants and bars. Some flies can even bite, causing itchy and painful welts. Difficult to control without professional help, flies increase in population during the summer and can live in drains and thrive around trash containers. They can also contaminate food and packaging materials, as well as damage your restaurant’s reputation.
There aren’t many things more unappetizing than a cockroach creeping out of a crack and darting across a restaurant table, countertop or floor. Cockroaches typically live in the dark and may spread bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.They can also trigger allergic reactions in some people. If you see one cockroach, many more may be nearby as infestations can have populations of hundreds and even thousands. Cockroaches can live in wood and cardboard boxes, and they can cause alarm, as well as upset customers and even employees.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, can pose threats to the health and safety for any restaurant and its customers. They can enter buildings through doorways and through surprisingly small cracks and holes to gnaw, feed and breed. They are known to sometimes carry pathogens that can cause disease. They can also damage equipment, ruin merchandise, contaminate food and packaging materials and even cause electrical fires in extreme cases. The sight of a rodent, or rodent droppings, is likely enough to turn even the most ardent restaurant customer away for good.
Mosquitoes can be particularly bothersome in restaurants, especially if there is an outdoor eating area. Found everywhere except Antarctica, mosquitoes are typically active when temperatures reach about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Mosquitoes can breed in very shallow water (as little as half an inch deep), often cause itchy bites and are known to sometimes transmit pathogens through biting that can cause disease.
Stored Product Pests
Stored product pests (moths, weevils and beetles) are sometimes known as pantry pests. These bothersome pests can breed and build huge populations quickly, making them difficult to control. They often have widespread infestations with more than one source, and they often leave behind eggs and larvae, which can contaminate food. Stored product pests can attack many different types of food items, including whole grains, wheat, corn, barley, rice, beans, nuts and many others.
One of the most effective summer (or any time of the year, really) restaurant pest control procedures is to pay extra attention to trash and garbage duty. Garbage and refuse can be a big attractor for pests, especially in warm weather. Empty trash containers more frequently, and always firmly secure garbage receptacles and dumpster lids. Make sure that all trash and garbage containers are positioned well away from restaurant doors and windows, if possible.
For optimum summer restaurant pest control, it’s important to be extra vigilant with all cleaning tasks. Wipe counters and table tops immediately, keep floors free of crumbs and quickly wipe up any spills in the kitchen, dining areas and bathrooms. Be sure to clean frequently behind and under appliances and furniture, and have a regular schedule for wiping down cabinet shelves and food storage areas where crumbs and residue can gather. Pay special attention to grease traps, kitchen drains, vents and any places where grease and grime can accumulate, such as cooking surfaces and surrounding cracks and crevices. Keep food covered and properly stored. Clean restrooms often for good hygiene and to remove any water spills or leaks before pests find them.
Look Outside for Restaurant Pest Control
To help keep pests from coming inside your restaurant, work outside as well. Have the grass mowed regularly, tree branches cut and shrubbery trimmed away from the building. Clean gutters and downspouts often. Have the roof and walls inspected for gaps, cracks or crevices that should be sealed to help prevent pest entry. Check door and window seals and weather stripping for signs of wear and tear. Cover vents wherever possible. And if you have pet traffic in front of your property, provide a convenient container for pet waste disposal.
While these steps can help prevent summer pests, the most effective solution is professional restaurant pest control. An experienced commercial pest control partner can identify pest problems and treat them discreetly to help remove current threats and help prevent future infestations. Make sure that technicians are trained to keep your establishment in compliance with pest-related issues found in food service regulations and local health codes.