Crack down on creepy-crawlies

Adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards pests

There's a rat in the kitchen, what am I going to do?

The relationship between food and hygiene is very simple: never put anything in your mouth unless you know it’s been prepared hygienically. You wouldn’t put your own health at risk by eating contaminated food, so why would you expect your patrons to do so? Unfortunately, there are eating places where rats, flies, cockroaches and other nasty vermin seem to think they are restaurant patrons too. Not only is it incredibly unhealthy, but it’s also bad for the bottom line – because as soon as diners find out there are creepy-crawlies in the kitchen, they will find somewhere else to dine

In other words, hygiene can make or break your restaurant business. An excellent reputation for hygiene will stand you in good stead, while a reputation for slovenliness and filth will only cause your clientele to walk out of the door. More than that, your staff will become depressed at having to work in a squalid environment. After all, food, water and sanitation are basic human rights, so it makes no sense at all to deprive people of them in a restaurant.

An excellent reputation for hygiene will stand you in good stead, while a reputation for slovenliness and filth will only cause your clientele to walk out of the door.

Admittedly, controlling pests isn’t as simple as wishing them away. Pests love restaurants for the food, water, shelter and warmth they offer them – and so do the diseases they carry with them. To avoid infestation, it’s necessary to have an effective waste management program in place, based on a proper knowledge of health and safety procedures. 

There are many registered, professional pest controllers who can help you ensure your business is compliant with health and safety regulations. However, perhaps you’d like to try your hand at pest control first. Here are some ideas for developing your own pest control program.

Pest detective

Start with an inspection to find out where pests may be nesting and the routes they travel along. Check all over for live pests, faeces, cast skins and egg cases. Rodents, cockroaches and flies usually leave evidence behind them.

Inspect every nook and cranny where rodents or insects might be hiding. Check your rubbish bins, sinks, floor drains, kitchen equipment, electrical outlets and electrical boxes. Look inside places you might not have thought of, like any hollow tubing on appliance legs.

Be vigilant about sanitation: clean your rubbish bins, sinks, floors and kitchen equipment as often as possible, especially before you lock up for the night. 

Prevention is better than cure. Keep pests out by making sure your doors and windows have tight weather seals. Stop any gaps in walls and always keep doors and unscreened windows shut. Apply these measures to your outside areas for added security against invaders. 

If you apply these steps consistently, you should see a reduction in rats, cockroaches and flies.

Tips for combating cockroaches

·        Limit treatments to cracks, crevices and spaces inside walls

·        Use a combination of cockroach bait, insecticide and insect growth regulator (a chemical that inhibits the life cycle of an insect)

·        Apply cockroach bait to cracks or crevices where cockroach faeces is visible

·        Apply insecticide dust or foam to intramural spaces around plumbing pipes and behind stoves or dishwashers (cockroaches like these areas because of the humidity)

·        Apply liquid insecticides and insect growth regulators in cracks and crevices, but be very careful to guard against splashes that might contaminate your food preparation services

·        Apply barrier insecticides regularly on the outside of your building to keep insects out.

Tips for fighting flies

·        Check rubbish bins, loose floor tiles, floor and sink drains, behind and under equipment

·        Keep the area around the bins as clean as possible and close lids when not in use

·        Keep sink and floor drains spotless to ensure flies don’t breed there – eliminate organic matter with an enzyme-based cleaner at least once a week.

Tips for ridding restaurants of rodents

·        Rats and mice are incredibly intelligent and can force their way through the tiniest crack, so seal as many entry points as possible

·        Mow grassy areas to deprive rodents of cover

·        Kill rodents outdoors by placing bait stations near the bins and along outdoor walls

·        If you already have rats in your kitchen, place glue boards or snap traps near areas where you find droppings or areas that show signs of rodent damage

·        Avoid using rat poison indoors – the creatures tend to die in places where you can’t get at them, creating a putrid stench that lasts for weeks and attracting flies, cockroaches and beetles.