Northern Virginia restaurants suffer from the same pest control challenges as the rest of the Washington, D.C. area, or for that matter, the world. It takes years for a restaurant to build a good reputation. But it takes only one pest infestation to destroy it. There is little more damaging to a restaurant's reputation and business than flies buzzing around the table, a cockroach scurrying across the floor, or a mouse scurrying under the kitchen doors. What can management and staff do to help preserve the name and character of our great Northern Virginia restaurants?
Stop them before they start
There are four basic types of pests that plague eating establishments. Identify which ones are prevalent in your area and “set up a perimeter” so as to prevent their entry. If they are already present, similar steps can be taken to eradicate them. Let’s consider them one by one.
Rodents have poor eyesight and tend to follow the same paths, leaving rub marks along the bottoms of walls. Employees should be on the lookout for these and other telltale signs such as droppings, burrows, and gnaw marks on plastic pipes or electrical wires. Try to identify as many entry points as possible and plug them with expanding foam insulation. Although rodent poison may be inappropriate for the inside of the restaurant, it can be placed near dumpsters and at certain spots along the outside of the structure. Sealing entry points is always a good idea.
Restaurants provide everything that roaches need to survive and thrive: moisture, warmth, food, and plenty of places to hide. Roaches are thigmotropic in nature, meaning they prefer the sides or tops of their bodies touching other objects. So, they spend most of their lives in small, tight areas. Therefore, treatments should be limited to crevices, cracks, and wall voids. Using a combination of insecticide, roach bait, and an insect growth regulator is usually needed. Good sanitation is a must. Even a small amount of grease or food droppings can easily sustain and attract roaches for a long time.
Flies are a particular challenge in restaurants because they fly. They just come and go right along with customers, staff, and delivery people. Commons flies found in restaurants are houseflies, fruit flies, drain flies, and fungus gnats. Since each may require a different type of deterrent, the best control method is preventing them from entering in the first place. Eliminate flies at the dumpsters before they move inside by keeping these areas as clean as possible and closing dumpster lids when not in use. Cleaning and good sanitation is critical. Most restaurants focus on eliminating adult flies instead of eliminating the source where they are breeding. Regular deep cleaning of cracks, crevices, soda and beer lines, under and behind equipment will help prevent and eliminate breeding areas.
To prevent weevils, moths, and beetles from making the storage areas their home, rotate products on a first in, first out basis. Make sure to store dry foods off the floor and away from walls, and seal all containers tightly. Employees should inspect food supplies and food storage areas for signs of an infestation, such as webbing, live larvae and adult pests, and remove any infested commodity immediately to prevent the problem from spreading.
Most importantly, remember that pest control can only be achieved with proper sanitation. Keep everything immaculately clean. Use common sense. Don’t leave food out. Don’t leave empty cardboard boxes sitting in storage for long periods of time. With a few simple techniques and routines, you can have a relatively pest-free restaurant.
My Pest Pros offers commercial pest control protection programs for restaurants, offices, retail stores, shopping centers and other businesses. Contact us today and We’ll Get Rid of What’s Bugging You!