(Editor’s Note: This is an online-only article attributed to the June/July 2017 issue.)
Running a hospitality business can be highly stressful—while you are consistently striving to delight your customers in every way, the biggest threat facing every restaurant, hotel, nightclub, and cruise line is a pest infestation. Whether your guests are having dinner or staying overnight at your hotel, it is important to ensure a clean, hygienic environment where your customers are comfortable and happy eating and drinking.
Business owners need to focus on bettering their service and expanding their customer base, which leaves little time to focus on pest control. You cannot afford to spend hours identifying infestations and laying traps to get rid of pests. Pest control services are fully-equipped with the latest devices and best industry practices to keep your facility pest-free and prevent future infestations.
Staying Competitive and Compliant
Pest infestations can put both public health and your reputation at risk. They not only contaminate food but also cause significant damage to structures and spread diseases. Their unsightly presence and annoying odor can drive your customers to your competitors and also invite negative reviews that can severely damage your reputation and bring down revenue. Pest control services ensure that your facility adheres to the highest levels of hygiene and sanitation and is fully prepared for all third-party audits.
Common Pests Found in Hospitality
Cockroaches. Cockroaches breed throughout the year, can survive for long periods without food and water, and are found everywhere—from ships and shops to hotels and hostels. They can multiply even under adverse conditions and usually thrive in kitchens and wash areas. Cockroaches consume everything that they can chew and vomit all the undigested food, which is highly infectious. They are also potential carriers of Salmonella and their allergens can trigger asthma in allergic individuals.
Rodents. Rodents have a high reproductive ability and they easily adapt to any environment. They are infected with disease-causing bacteria that can easily spread foodborne and waterborne illnesses. Rodents can also damage furniture, fixtures, electrical equipment, contaminate food with their droppings, and transmit various diseases, including Lyme disease, Salmonellosis, Toxoplasmosis, and Leptospirosis.
Fleas. Fleas come uninvited with guests and pets, carrying a range of bacterial and viral diseases along with tapeworm parasites and protozoan. These wingless, blood-sucking insects pose potential health risks to guests and customers if not controlled.
Stored product insects (SPIs). Popularly known as pantry pests, SPIs typically include moths, mites, beetles, and weevils. SPIs usually infest dried food products such as cereals, spices, seeds, powdered milk, nuts, tea, and dried fruits. They can easily chew the packaging material and crawl through the seams to contaminate large quantities of food through their feces and cocoons.
Common Areas of Concern for Commercial Kitchens
Where food, moisture, and humidity coexist, pests can practically thrive, survive, and proliferate without end. Below are areas of the kitchen that you should inspect thoroughly.
Storage spaces. Roaches, ants, and rodents are often found in cluttered areas like store rooms where all the food supplies are stacked.
Humid areas. Dishwashers, refrigerators, HVAC units, sink, drain pipes, machine lids, and floor mats are a few of the many wet places that make a perfect breeding ground for pests.
Heat sources. All the equipment and machinery that generates heat is sure to be a source of attraction for diseases-causing pests. Inspect all your appliances, pipes, stoves, and freezers especially their motor housing where heat is generated.
Cracks and crevices. Any openings in the building act an entry point for pests. Inspect all the gaps and holes in electrical outlets, wall fixtures, and floor tiles for ants, cockroaches, and insects.
Areas where organic garbage is dumped or accumulated. Commercial kitchens and food processing facilities produce a lot of organic waste on a daily basis. This organic waste is a major source of attraction so the most obvious areas to look for pests include garbage bins and equipment undersides where all the organic matter accumulates over time.
Pest Control Options
Food facilities often feature a complex environment that needs an integrated pest management approach. Any pest control treatment needs to be customized depending on the type of infestation, the nature of operations, existing weather conditions, and a variety of other factors. Depending on the unique needs of your facility and the type of pest that needs to be controlled, you have the following treatment options available.
Sanitation. Sanitation measures are highly effective at keeping pests out and away from your establishment. Sanitation treatment typically includes cleaning of food debris, scrubbing of drain pipes, clearing food preparation areas, and disinfecting splashboards.
Sealing of all entry points. Sealing all cracks, crevices, gaps, and holes will efficiently prevent the entry of pests in the kitchen.
Traps. Snap traps, catch traps, and bait stations are an ideal solution for outdoor use and garbage disposal sites in and around the property. They can also be used in loading areas and building entrances.
Exclusion. Effective exclusion measures deter pests and prevent them from venturing into your property.
Whether your facility is infested with ants, roaches, rodents or any other type of pest, don’t wait until it takes a toll on your revenue and brand repute. Hiring a professional pest control service can keep your customers satisfied, surroundings sanitized, and business successful.