Much like a home or office situation, the first order in restaurant pest control is to determine through inspection, followed by sanitation and exclusion. Needless to say, the restaurant should be closed to the public whenever there is evidence of infestation, in fear of being shut down by the local authorities. (Err…hopefully everyone knows this and understands that Ratatouille was not a very realistic depiction of what would happen if a rat wanted to become a cook)
Inspection: Where the pests are coming from, where they’re hiding and how they travel. This will be important when considering what applications will work best. Exterminators will also look for “harborages” that contain hidden pests, eggs, cast skins or feces. The investigation will encompass trash bins, floor drains, sinks, appliances in the kitchen, all walls and any wall voids, electrical boxes or outlets, hollow tubing and other cracks that can be entered or exited. During this time, glue boards may be used to determine the suspected infestation areas.
Sanitation: Restaurant managers and owners must be downright zealous about cleaning when dealing with food and drinks, since trash bins, sinks, floors and kitchen equipment can very easily become attractants for pests. In fact, any one of these items, including very tiny particles leftover on tables, could cause an infestation problem in no time. Special care must also be given to pesticide chemicals, and how they will interact with patrons, food, air and the rest of the environment. (We will discuss in the next section)
Exclusion: As with commercial and residential properties, make it a point to seal up all holes, particularly around doors and windows. Do not leave doors or unscreened windows open. It is smart to pay not only for interior pest control services, but also for the outside area, so you can stop pests from invading long before they reach the front door.
The most common pests for restaurants are cockroaches, flies and mice/rats. A great deal of attention must be given to proper cleaning. In fact, hosing down a kitchen or a restaurant as if it were a portable outhouse is not allowed.
Most restaurants recommend the following:
- Writing down a procedural list of cleanliness and educating staff as to its importance.
- Sweep and mop twice a day or more, depending on use
- Make sure all surfaces are easy to clean
- Cleansers should cut through grease
Remember that health inspectors focus on the “neglected areas” and coincidentally, so do pests! Make sure you clean and protect areas under cookers and appliances as well as spaces behind these items. The area around the trash cans should also be sparkling.