— By Scott Green —
How odor management can prevent pest infestations.
Retail and restaurant establishments dealing with unwanted pest issues are like a ticking time bomb. One batch of contaminated food or product, one pest sighting posted on social media, or any number of possible negative outcomes can quickly create havoc, sending the brand reputation and the business on a downward spiral.
Pest infestations are often a secondary problem to a primary stressor. For food retail and restaurant establishments, that primary stressor can be lingering or pungent odors and unsanitary spaces that attract pests such as rodents, ants and flies.
Bioremediation, through sanitation and odor management, is a critical step toward preventing unwanted pests. Retail and restaurant owners can use these three tips to “get straight to the source” by treating malodors to prevent pest infestations:
Tip #1: Pay attention to those “hard to reach” spaces
Pests are both smart and stubborn. They are expert hiders and will seek out the smallest of spaces to avoid being spotted. Hard to reach or often overlooked spaces, including drop ceilings and attic spaces, behind and between kitchen appliances, back-of-house garbage and storage areas and any area with clutter are prime hiding spots for many pests.
It’s important to regularly inspect the interior and exterior building. In dry storage areas, it is recommended to keep items at least 6 inches off the ground. This will eliminate potential access points to stored away items. Also, conduct a quarterly site inspection to look for any open access points in and around the property. Rodents can fit through holes as small as our thumb, and ants and other crawling insects often leverage overgrown outdoor vegetation around the building as easy access points to get indoors.
By the time a pest is spotted, it’s often too late and a larger infestation may be lurking in a hidden or hard-to-reach space. Retail and restaurant owners can stay one step ahead of sneaky pests by being aware and paying close attention to these commonly overlooked areas.
Tip #2: Create a monthly, detailed sanitation list to supplement everyday cleaning
To supplement regular or daily cleaning practices, retail and restaurant owners should establish a deep-sanitation day at least once a month. Individual items such as mop heads, sinks and other items used for cleaning rarely get sanitized themselves.
Additional deep-cleaning areas should include delivery quarters, trash bins and bar spaces. Due to their nature of use, there is always something sticky lurking in or around garbage enclosures and bar areas. Retail and restaurant managers should deep-clean, or power wash, these high-risk areas at least once a month to prevent pest infestations from forming.
Deep-cleaning tasks are often avoided for a reason — no one enjoys doing it — but it’s a critical step toward keeping rodents, ants, flies and other pests from invading an establishment. Consider a rotational cleaning schedule and communicate the “why” behind the additional cleaning to help staff understand the importance of deep sanitization.
Tip #3: Odor management is key
Odors released from trash chutes, product storage spaces and other common back-of-house areas can linger throughout indoor spaces. These troublesome smells attract unwanted pests and can negatively impact customer and brand perception.
Rodents can smell in parts per billion, as compared to dogs who smell in parts per million, and the common fly can smell odors as far as 4 miles away. As a result of the increased risk of attracting pests, getting straight to the source through targeted odor management solutions is an essential part of pest management for retail and restaurant establishments.
Installing odor management solutions can provide protection for vulnerable back-of-house, storage and trash areas. These solutions are designed to eliminate and neutralize foul smells, delivering an improved air care experience for customers and employees, while helping to reduce unwanted pests.
Pests are extremely unsanitary and can carry and transmit a number of harmful diseases. Retail and restaurant operators should train staff to “see something, say something.” The sooner a pest problem is identified the sooner it can be treated, resulting in lower costs and a decreased impact on brand reputation.
Recommended treatment methods will vary based on many factors, including the establishment’s location and the species of pest. There is no cookie-cutter approach for treating pests as rules and regulations differ by state.
Work with a trusted, local pest control expert in order to receive unique treatment needs designed for your particular brand and establishment. In the meantime, retail and restaurant operators can follow these three steps to “get straight to the source” to help treat malodors and prevent pest infestations.
— Scott Green is an associate certified entomologist with Rentokil North America. Based in Reading, Pennsylvania, Rentokil is a leading provider of commercial and residential pest control services.