Best practices to reduce pest problems in bars

Krissie Callahan

Bars can be ultra-attractive to pests. These high-traffic areas offer plenty of moisture and a sugar-rich environment that is a smorgasbord for pests such as fruit flies, cockroaches, and ants. Reducing potential pest issues in these areas isn’t as hard as it may seem – it’s all about good sanitation and cleaning practices. So what can you do to keep pesky pests away? We’ve got the answers.

Bar areas are often high-activity environments. They can act as server stations, as well as a spot to serve customers, pumping out drinks, appetizers, and food at lightning pace. That can leave little time for periodic cleanup…and that’s where pest problems begin.

Implement daily cleaning practices

While bar staff likely does some basic cleaning at the end of each night and the start of each day, you may need to take a closer look at what’s being done each day. There are a few hot spots that are often the culprit for pest issues. If left unattended, some of these areas can also get you in hot water with your local health department. These areas should be cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis:

  • Spill tray drain lines (lift up spill trays and clean underneath them every day)
  • Soda guns and holsters.
  • Toasters, cooktops, or other cooking equipment.

Drain lines can actually become a primary source of attraction for small flies. As sugar-rich materials pass through them all day, they can build up organic matter. Periodically flush or replace the lines to avoid problems with them.

liquor bottles in bar

Watch out for leaks and excess moisture

There are numerous places for leaks or excess moisture to happen in a bar. Anywhere from a leaky water hose to dripping taps to condensation build up. Moisture collecting in the wrong area can create big problems, including creating wet carpeting, damaging wood and creating rot. These conditions can attract pests of their own.

Storage of food and alcohol

Many alcohol products contain lots of sugar – and that can be extremely attractive to pests. To prevent pests from contaminating your supplies, cap or cover liquor bottles every night. Sodas, juices, mixers, wine, and other products are also rich in sugar and should be sealed when not in use.

Bar fruits can also be a major pest attractant. Store them in covered containers when not in use. You may also want to consider refrigerating them at night to further discourage activity. Other bar foods and snacks should also be stored in sealed containers. This can discourage pest activity ranging from cockroaches to rodents.

Look down to ensure thorough cleaning

Other problem areas begin at the floor level. While the areas we typically walk on may get attention on a daily basis, other areas can often be “out of sight, out of mind.” And because they are out of sight, pest problems may not be noticed until they’ve become full-blown infestations.

Clean under equipment regularly. While moving equipment around may not be possible, cleaning underneath equipment should be part of a daily routine. Invest in equipment and scrapers that can allow employees to pull out any debris and build-up from under equipment. If possible, have equipment on wheels to allow it to be easily moved.

Keep beverage and water lines off the floor. Hoses and lines that deliver water and beverages often rest on the floor behind equipment. Because they’re hidden away, they often go unmoved for long periods of time. That allows debris and potentially moisture to build up around them. Use a zip tie to keep them raised off the floor.

Inspect floors and the floor-wall junction regularly for cracks, loose covering, other damage. Cracked tiles, loose flooring, missing grout, unattached baseboard covering, and other small gaps and cracks can trap moisture and food debris. This organic debris can serve as a breeding source for pests such as small flies or attract ants, cockroaches, and other pests in search of food.

Many facilities use power washing to get a “quick clean,” but Rentokil Steritech does not recommend it. Here’s why:

  • Power washing can actually force food and moisture into floor/wall junctures or behind baseboard/baseboard covering, or under or into gaps in flooring, creating ideal breeding and feeding spots for pests.
  • It can also push food debris under equipment, where it can go unnoticed, and again serve as a food source for pests.
  • It can crack and damage tiles and grout.

Instead of power washing, use a good old fashioned mop for cleaning up each day. For best results, use a biologic cleaner in your mop water to help break down any organic debris that is present. Use a floor fan to help dry floors quickly and keep moisture from pooling.

And while we’re on the subject of mops, remember to hang mops to dry to prevent them from becoming their own source of pest infestation. Replace mop heads when they become visibly soiled.

beer tap

Pay close attention to drains

Floor drains are a primary source of small fly issues for many establishments. As liquids and food debris move through drains, they can create an organic build-up under the drain cover, at the top of the drain, and along the interior of the drain. This build-up creates a slime that is ideal for small fly breeding. To prevent it, have drains cleaned on a weekly basis with a stiff drain brush. Remember to use a funnel to cover the brush and prevent splatter, which can contain harmful pathogens.

Download our Best Practices card today

Did you find these tips useful? They’re all summarized in our Best Practices Card for Bar Cleaning, which you can download here. Get 14 tips in an easy check-list format to share with your teams to ensure that these bar cleaning practices are being followed every day.

For more cards like this one, sign up for our monthly Best Practices series and get a new card delivered to your inbox each month.

To find out how Rentokil Steritech can protect your establishment from pest problems, contact us today.

Want to learn more about pest control for bars and restaurants? Check out some of our other blogs:

Krissie Callahan
Krissie Callahan

As the Communications Manager for Rentokil North America, Krissie specializes in writing, editing, and shaping both internal and marketing messages for the company. When she's not at work, you can usually find her taking in a live music performance in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.

Leave a Reply



Contact the experts


Fill out your details and we will call you back