What are the most common pests in restaurant kitchens?

Where there’s food, there will be pests. If they can find a way in, of course. Having a restaurant, a food retail business, or hospitality business requires a lot of work, but also to always think three steps ahead about anything. Including pests.

Here, we will talk about the most common kitchen pests that can be a problem to your restaurant.

What risk do pests in your restaurant kitchen pose to your business?

  • damage to your reputation;
  • lost profits due to the loss of customers;
  • financial loss from replacing damaged products or claims for compensation;
  • prosecution and fines by public health and regulatory authorities;
  • closure of your business by public health authorities or regulatory authorities.

Commercial kitchens in restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars, hotels, and other hospitality providers and businesses have a responsibility to provide their customers with impeccable taste in food and to protect their well-being with safe and quality food.

The most common pests in your restaurant kitchen

Where there are food and water, and easy access to them, there will be pests. Crawling, flying, running, hiding, lurking…

Here are the most common pests in restaurant kitchens and other commercial establishments:

Mice and rats

Rodents, more specifically, rats and mice are also a common pest in all food establishments. Restaurants, food manufacturers, hotels, cafes, pubs, etc. They can get inside the kitchen in a number of ways – through drains and sewers, through holes and cracks in walls or basement.

Rats and mice can transmit diseases such as Leptospirosis, Toxoplasmosis, Salmonella, even Lyme disease, Hantavirus, and rat-bite fever.

Additional dangers of having rodents in your restaurant are property damage, contamination, additional pest infestation – fleas, ticks, mites. Contamination of the premise with their urine and droppings is also a problem. They can gnaw electrical cords and cause problems for appliances.

Read more about rats facts.
Read more about mice facts.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the most common pests in commercial kitchens. They breed rapidly, can enter from various tiny holes, and they can feed on pretty much everything there is in a kitchen. 

They are nocturnal animals and you may not notice them for a long time until it’s too late and there are hundreds of them. In the daytime, they hide in the smallest places and in drains, under or behind appliances. This makes them hard to reach and get rid of. Furthermore, cockroaches climb on anything. They may crawl on your grill, cutlery, dishes, etc, which makes them unsanitary to use. 

Cockroaches can also be responsible for transmitting diseases in your restaurant, including E.coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and viruses. 

Read more about cockroaches facts.

Flies

These insects are a great nuisance not only for the kitchen but for the entire commercial property. It is unpleasant and unprofessional to have flies flying around your restaurant and land on people, on their food, and cutlery while they are having a meal. 

Some flies species are considered a pest in the food industry: fruit flies, house flies, drain flies.

The main problems with flies are that they carry and transmit pathogens that can cause diseases such as E.coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, parasitic worms, and others.

Furthermore, in a commercial kitchen where the food and living conditions are good, flies can breed rapidly.

Read more about flies.

Stored product insects

Common kitchen pests are often insects that are attracted to the abundance and variety of stored food. This is a common term for several types of insects –  beetles, weevils, moths, and mites – that infesting food in storage. You’ll find them in cereals, grains, flour, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, spices, even pasta. 

Once any of the insects appear in your stored food, the only thing you can do is throw it away.

Ants

Are considered more of a nuisance pest and they do not pose a health risk to people. However, they pose a risk to your business’ reputation. 

You’ll notice them near your food and waste storage areas. Some ant species can be dealt with by using ant baits, but others may require a professional ant treatment to fully exterminate them and seal their entry points.

Read more about ants.

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Signs of pests in restaurant kitchen

Regardless if you’re a restaurant, a cafe, or a pub owner, restaurant pest control must be your top priority. There are strict food regulations in the UK and infringing them can have serious consequences for your business. 

Pests like rodents and cockroaches are usually hiding from people. You won’t see any of them come out during the day while the kitchen is filled to the brim with people, to steal some of your food. But pests like flies and ants do not do that. If they infest your kitchen, you will see them all. 

Here are the signs of cockroaches and rodents too look for, if you spot any of the below mentioned, take adequate measures as soon as possible:

Signs of rats and mice

  • Droppings – dark brown (rats) or black (mice), elongated. Rat’s faeces are bigger than a mouse’s. 
  • Squeaking and scratching noises.
  • Damage to items in the kitchen – garbage bins, food storages, cardboard boxes.
  • Greasy marks/footprints – these animals are filthy and you may see the traces of their visit in the dirt and grease they leave in their way. 

Signs of cockroaches

  • Droppings – they can have two forms – round, or oblong (depending on the species) firm faeces that are either dark brown or black. Or they can be runny and appear as smear marks.

  • Shed skin – this is something cockroaches do several times in their lifespan. If you see something that looks like a cockroach-shaped piece of skin, even just one, then you have an infestation.

  • Dead or alive cockroaches – the surest sign of an infestation is seeing the pest either live or dead. Be it a dead or alive cockroach, there are more where it came from, for sure.

  • Unpleasant odour – this is common for heavier infestations. If you’re sensing a weird, unpleasant smell and aren’t sure where it’s coming from, you may have a large infestation.

Check also:

Dispose of a Dead Rat in a Safe Manner

Rodents and Hantavirus: Cause and Prevention

5 main factors that contribute to restaurant kitchen pest infestations

Regardless of the type of pest, they all come looking for the same things – food, shelter, water, a place to nest.

  • Food – in the food industry pests will always be a problem. Pests attack your stored food, already made food, and the garbage as well. As a commercial kitchen, there are items from all food groups, attracting various pests.
  • Water – having places with standing water in the kitchen. It can be a leaking faucet, a puddle left from a wet item, or from cleaning the kitchen counter or floor, etc. Even leaking pipes that are hidden from your sight can attract pests.
  • Shelter – if there is easy access to your kitchen and attractive hiding places, you can bet the pests will stay. A cluttered kitchen, or any premise in general, provide for more hiding spots where pests can hide and nest.
  • Cleanliness – if your kitchen isn’t well maintained, cleaned well daily, the garbage isn’t thrown out regularly, etc. pests will come lurking. This isn’t only about the kitchen but the dining room of your restaurant as well. It, too, should be cleaned well daily. 
  • Easy access – if there’s nothing stopping them, they will come without any hesitation. Too many doors, no door or window screens, cracks in walls, open windows, etc. are ways that pests can enter easily. 

There are many food laws and regulations that you must be aware of. Anyone who sees a pest in your restaurant can report the local authorities. Making sure you offer good and safe food to your customers should be the number one priority.

That can be achieved not only by hiring the best chefs and buying quality products but with regular checks on the food’s condition. Also with regular pest inspection, control, and preventive measures. 

How to clean a restaurant kitchen after restaurant pest control treatment?

Every pest treatment is unique depending on the property type and size, the type of pest, and the level of infestation. If you choose to hire a professional pest control company for your business, they will advise you to clean the property before the exterminators arrive on-site. 

They will do the appropriate treatment for your restaurant kitchen and will not leave before giving you advice on what is expected from you. What to do after treatment is different according to what method was used and what pesticides. 

But for commercial kitchens, the treatment for insects is with powerful insecticides and for rodents, it’s with bait boxes and sealing entry points. 

For insect treatment, after the use of insecticides, you will be advised not to enter the property for a couple of hours to let them settle down. After the waiting period is over, you can proceed with the cleaning of the kitchen.

  1. Get your cleaning supplies and gear. 
  2. Appoint specific tasks or areas to your team.
  3. Vacuum and mop the floors. 
  4. Clean appliances outside and inside. They were not sprayed on the inside but, to be 100% sure that everything has been cleaned and no small amount of pesticide residue will remain.
  5. Vacuum or wipe unprotected furniture. 
  6. Clean all work counters with dish soap and/or disinfectant. 
  7. Dust and wipe down kitchen cabinets.
  8. Do not forget to clean the handles of appliances and cabinets. 

Of course, you can get paid professionals to do it, but you can also do the cleaning with your team if you have the time.

How to keep pests away from your restaurant kitchen?

In order to prevent unwanted guests in your restaurant kitchen, there are some things that you can do. 

  1. Make a detailed cleaning and disinfecting routine for all shifts to do in the kitchen. 
  2. Do regular deep cleans of the kitchen. 
  3. Store food properly – store in plastic or glass containers that seal properly.  
  4. Get regular pest inspections of the restaurant.
  5. Place traps in inconspicuous places, as a preventive method.
  6. Install screen mesh on windows and doors. 
  7. Get the premise inspected for leaking pipes, structural damages and holes that need repairing.

For these and more restaurant pest control prevention tips or treatment, you can get in touch with Fantastic Pest Control  in your area. We do commercial pest control and can help protect your business image and reputation. 

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