Today’s supermarkets and grocery stores cater to just about any consumer food need, providing prepared foods to help meet the growing demand for quick, convenient foods. In many stores, the bakery is responsible for producing bread, cakes, cookies, pastries, and a full-range of ready-to-eat desserts. These sweet treats don’t just attract customers – they can also draw hungry ants.
So, just what can you and your team do to keep ants out of this high-traffic department? You might be surprised how simple the steps seem. However, they do take diligence and an “every day check” mindset.
Clean up spills
Bakeries deal with a lot of sugary foods…the perfect diet for many ant species. In busy bakeries that are moving fast, spills are bound to happen. Be sure to clean them up quickly to remove any potential attractants for ants.
Be rigorous about daily sanitation and cleanup
Spills aren’t the only things that require cleanup attention. Ensuring that your team is diligent about daily sanitation can help prevent the build-up of ant-attracting residue on countertops, floors, and equipment.
- Thoroughly clean countertops every day, or more frequently if tasks such as chopping fruits, rolling doughs, etc., leave behind residue.
- Disassemble equipment to clean pieces thoroughly.
- Don’t allow dirty dishes to collect in sinks.
- Mop (don’t hose, if you can help it) floors daily.
- Ensure that areas under equipment and around legs and wheels are cleaned. This includes edges around stationery items (cabinets, countertops).
- Remove trash daily at a minimum.
Develop a daily cleaning checklist and ensure that your team follows it. A manager or department head should be tasked with double-checking that all cleaning and sanitation tasks have been completed each day.
Clean cases and other display areas daily
As a store customer, imagine the reaction that seeing ants on or around foods might elicit. Cases, bread baskets, and other areas where finished products are displayed can collect food residues that look like a smorgasbord to ants. Be sure that your staff is cleaning these display areas daily to ensure that ants don’t make their way into a customer’s line of sight.
Keep ingredients tightly sealed
Storing ingredients in tightly-sealed containers can help to keep ants at bay. Take a look around your storage areas to see if there’s an opportunity to move ant-attracting ingredients into sealed containers.
Seal cracks and crevices
Ants can make their way inside through the smallest of cracks and crevices. Make sure your team is doing regular inspections to look for cracks and gaps that could give ants the perfect pathway in from outside.
- You may need to involve your facilities or maintenance and engineering teams for help.
- Don’t forget to look both low and high – ants will trail in through cracks and crevices close to the ceiling.
- Inspect around where pipes, plumbing, or other cabling enters the building.
If you find any cracks or gaps, seal them with pest-resistant materials, such as silicone caulk.
Repair damaged flooring, grout, and baseboard/covering
Cracks, chipped tiles, missing grout, and loose baseboards might not seem like a big deal, but can easily become a source for ants and other pest issues. Floor damage such as cracks, loose or cracked tiles, and damaged or missing grout make the perfect crevices for food residues and moisture to collect in, even with daily cleaning. Loose baseboards or baseboard covering can also be a problem. They often allow microscopic food residues and moisture to collect in the floor/wall juncture or worse, push into wall voids. Collections of food and moisture like this are ideal pest attractants.
Eliminate standing water and fix leaks
Just as much as sugary foods do, moisture attracts ants. The high volume of work in a bakery can also lead to lots of water use. It’s important to keep an eye on all plumbed equipment to ensure that leaks are fixed quickly. Standing water – water that collects in an area and sits for any length of time – can also be problematic. This can include standing water that may collect in or under sinks, condensation from refrigeration units, and more.
Have a great partnership with your pest management provider
Ants can be a persistent, pervasive pest issue to solve. That is because to truly resolve ant infestations, you need to eliminate the source of the problem. That takes proper identification of the ant species, knowing how to find the source, and the proper treatment methods to use. Failure to get to the source of the problem will result in ants continuing to return, so working with a knowledgeable pest management provider is critical. Alert your pest management partner at the first signs of an ant issue so that you can work together to resolve the problem.
For ants, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
When it comes to keeping ants out of your bakery, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely holds true. Taking time to do the daily tasks of proper cleanup and conducting periodic routine maintenance can prevent your bakery from becoming a one-stop shop for ants to dine.
Are you battling ant problems in your bakery or another area of your store? Rentokil can help. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection.