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Top pests in restaurants and commercial kitchens

Restaurants, commercial kitchens and other businesses in the food service industry have a responsibility for protecting public health by preventing contamination of food and transmission of pest-borne diseases inside their premises.

Additionally, food safety legislation mandates that food handling businesses exclude pests and prevent food contamination by taking effective measures.

Aside from conflicting with food sanitation, pests can also impact the restaurant sector through replacement costs, loss of reputation and business as well as litigation from public and regulatory authorities. With this in mind, understanding the biggest pest threats to your restaurant can support you in adopting a proactive approach to pest control, protecting your brand, your staff and your customers.

1. Rodents

As a key player in the urban pest category, rodents such as rats and mice are one of the most common pests found infesting restaurants, cafes, commercial kitchens and other food service businesses.

These adaptive creatures are attracted by strong, frequent food supplies and do not venture far from their nesting sites to feed. So as you can guess, restaurants make the perfect place for them to inhabit. Rats and mice are capable of a rapid increase in population given an abundant food supply, due to the number of litters they are capable of producing and the time to maturity.

Hazards from rodents in restaurants

Rats and mice can be of huge concern to the restaurant industry as they are known to cause damage to both buildings fixtures and electrical equipment due to both their nesting, burrowing and gnawing habits.

Furthermore, they can also cause loss of stock through not only eating food items but also damaging food containers and packaging.

Additionally, they have also been known spread a range of diseases such as Salmonellosis which can contaminate food items and equipment through their urine and droppings.

Rodent control for restaurants and commercial kitchens

Ensuring an effective pest management programme is in place to control rodents in your restaurant is vital.

Preventative measures should be in place such as eliminating harbourage areas in and around the buildings as well as preventing access to food by storing items in airtight containers. Preventing access points to your restaurant is also effective, this can be achieved through regular inspections and maintenance of your building.

When it comes to commercial pest control, Rentokil’s digital pest control solution provides restaurants with 24/7 pest monitoring and control, supporting both food safety, legislative and auditing requirements to ensure your restaurant is kept free from rodents.

2. Cockroaches

Cockroaches are the most common type of crawling insect that infests restaurants and other food handling businesses. They cause particular problems because of their size, giving them the ability to hide in small places, their varied diet, rapid reproduction and the diseases they can carry.

Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal, sheltering in the daytime and coming out at night to find food and other sites for shelter. They shelter in dark places such as cracks, crevices, drains, sewers, inside equipment and furnishings and hidden spaces that provide the right temperature and humidity. These places are also hard to reach using normal cleaning and sanitation methods.

The impact of cockroaches in restaurants and commercial kitchens

Cockroaches can be of huge concern for restaurants through a variety of manners. For example, they pose a risk to food safety as they are known to carry a large number of disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli which can easily contaminate both food items, packaging, machinery and cooking utensils through their urine, droppings and saliva.

Additionally, they are also known to trigger asthma attacks in both dinners and staff due to their droppings and shed skins containing allergens.

Commercial cockroach control for restaurants

Good sanitation practices prevent infestations and pick up the presence of cockroaches in restaurants such as cleaning up all food and drink spillages and proper waste disposal. Additionally, storing food in airtight containers as well as maintaining drainage and following a frequent cleaning schedule are also effective solutions.

There are a number of commercial solutions are available for control of cockroaches, including sprays, aerosols, dust and bait. There are stricter regulations for control near food handling and storage areas, to prevent contamination of foods with poisons.

Rentokil also has chemical-free control methods suitable for sensitive business environments and Insect Monitor Units to detect signs of activity.

3. Flies

As I’m sure you’re aware, flies are another issue for restaurants. There a number of species of flies which are attracted to food odours generated by commercial kitchens such as fruit flies, drain flies and house flies.

Different species of flies are attracted to different food products, however, they all pose the same risk to food safety and other legislations restaurants must adhere to.

Risk of fly-borne illnesses

Due to their feeding and breeding habits flies are also a huge risk for the restaurant sector in terms of food safety. They are known to transmit over 200 different pathogens which, as you’ve probably guessed, can lead to the contamination of food items, machinery and cooking utensils, posing a risk to both staff and customer health.

Controlling flies in restaurants

Ensuring a high standard of hygiene is particularly important for controlling flies to help reduce the appeal of your restaurant by reducing the number of food sources and breeding sites.

Keeping windows and doors shut, installing fly screens and making sure drains clear and free from debris are effective solutions as well as ensuring proper and regular cleaning, as well as effective waste disposal, are also advised.

Rentokil’s commercial fly control trap, Lumnia, harness the power of LED technology to effectively control flies hygienically, reducing the risk of contamination in a cost-effective manner.

4. Stored product pest

Stored product insects (SPIs) are the final pests which are known to be an issue for restaurants. Due to their feeding habits, they are regarded as the most expensive pests due to the replacement costs they can inflict on a business.

The hazards of Stored Product Insects

SPIs are more likely to infest products that have been opened but can also enter packaging made of paper, cardboard, plastic, cellophane and foil, chewing through the packaging material or crawling through folds and seams.

As with all the pests in this blog post, SPIs are also known to contaminate food products through physical damage, faeces, cocoons, etc. making food unfit or unacceptable for human consumption or for use in food preparation.

How restaurants can control Stored Product Insects

Following basic practices can minimise the risk of infestation such as disposing of infested food products, regularly monitoring stored food for signs of SPIs as well as proper sanitation and cleaning practices.

Identify and tackle the most costly and disruptive pest threats to restaurants

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