Pest control during your kitchen’s busy summer months.
By Jim Hill
For restaurant guests, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a meal on a warm summer evening while dining al fresco on the patio, or relaxing in the cool, air-conditioned atmosphere of your restaurant. And, with the warmth of summer, many restaurants experience an uptick in diners due to tourism, summer celebrations and events — so one of the last things your restaurant needs to deal with is a pest problem.
As a foodservice professional, you likely know that your kitchen is vulnerable to pests; but what you may not realize is certain pests can be especially worrisome during the summer when they generally tend to be more active, in conjunction with an uptick in foot traffic and access to food. So, what’s a kitchen to do? The first step in being proactive against summer pests is being informed. Understanding the most common pests that can lurk around kitchens and what attracts them will help your team take the right precautionary measures, helping to make your kitchen a place that’s inhospitable to pests.
Below are four of the more common pests that can take up residence in your kitchen during the summer and ideas to help stop them in their tracks.
Some flies (including fruit and houseflies) feed on decaying matter, including fruits and vegetables, making them a common occurrence in places where food is prepared and/or processed. Some flies can also bite (leaving itchy welts on some) and carry pathogens. A large infestation of flies has the potential to damage your restaurant’s reputation as their presence is not only seen as irritating, but also appears unsanitary. Simple ways to proactively help prevent flies from multiplying in your kitchen include: ensuring windows and doors are closed, sealing cracks and properly disposing of trash.
Whether lurking under a booth, behind a cooler or in your stockroom behind boxes, cockroaches typically live in dark places, making your restaurant a prime location for them to set up camp for the summer. According to the National Pest Management Association, cockroaches are known to spread 33 different types of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. Keep cockroaches at bay by remaining vigilant about all cleaning duties in and outside of the restaurant.
Rodents have the ability to squeeze their way through small cracks and holes. Once they enter a particular place, they can also damage, chew on and contaminate goods and equipment. These pests are known to carry pathogens. A rodent infestation puts your restaurant at risk for citations or, potentially, immediate closure. Maintaining proper sanitation, following regulated food preparation procedures and taking proactive measures with pest control will help discourage rodents from making your establishment their new habitat.
Mosquitoes are an inevitable part of warm weather for much of the country. These pests are more than just a nuisance — mosquitoes can lay an average of 100 eggs in a container the size of a bottle cap, and 3,000 eggs in just a few weeks! They can cause welts and severe itching, in addition to spreading diseases such as Zika or West Nile. Maintaining outdoor areas to reduce standing water in drains and down spouts, fountains and bird baths can help to reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes breeding nearby. Perhaps most importantly, working with a pest management professional can help to locate potential mosquito breeding sites and identify the proper treatment, such as Quick Guard™, a solution that begins working instantly.
A proactive approach is the best way to help ensure pests don’t spoil your kitchen’s busy summer months. By working with a commercial pest control partner, you can rest assured that your kitchen and your guests are in good hands.
National Pest Management Association:
— Based in Mississippi, Jim Hill is a region support manager with Terminix International. He has been with Terminix for 10 years. To learn more about how Terminix Commercial can help you protect your restaurant from pests, visit www.terminix.com/commercial.