A mouse sniffs the ground.

Big Little Problems: How to manage warm weather pests

By Alice Sinia

Just as people go outside to enjoy the warm weather during summer months, pests venture away from their hiding places in search of food and shelter, and restaurants offer pests plenty of resources to help them survive. With the season’s balmy weather, be sure to shield your space from pests by strengthening your pest management program.

Pests aren’t just a nuisance to employees and guests. They can also wreck your reputation, damage your building and spread harmful diseases to unsuspecting diners. Creating an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is the first step your restaurant can take to prevent a pest population from eating away at your business’s bottom line. By removing potential pest attractors and establishing consistent housekeeping practices and schedules, you can keep your restaurant pest free all season.

Wrecked Reputations

Spotting a fly in a drink or a cockroach in the restroom may be enough to send diners running for a new place to eat. With online searches and recommendations, all it takes is one bad review — or a failed food safety audit — to soil your reputation.

Work with your pest management provider to create a pest management program that works for your space. Schedule routine inspections and walk through your restaurant on a regular basis to monitor for signs of pest activity, and be sure to keep a detailed pest sighting log at all times. Not only will this documentation help determine the services needed to keep your business pest free, but having an up-to-date, well-kept pest sighting log can help you ace your next food safety audit.

Weathering Your Foundation

Pests are known to thrive and become more active in higher temperatures, but warmer weather isn’t the only factor that can bring out a swarm of pests. During the rainy season, pools of water accumulate and the environment becomes more humid, attracting pests that prefer to nest or reproduce in damp areas, like flies and mosquitoes.

Standing or pooling water can not only attract pests, but can also cause structural damage around your building. When inspecting your business, keep an eye out for these areas where water is likely to accumulate and monitor them closely.

Roofs

Roofs with flat surfaces can accumulate standing water over time. If your building flat roof, be sure keep a close eye on it to prevent water from pooling. If left alone for a prolonged period of time, standing water can cause mold or mildew to grow, and can eventually cause leaks and water damage.

Gutters

Leaves and other objects can easily build up and clog the gutters around your building. To prevent water from accumulating or overflowing from gutters, be sure to clean them regularly to remove any materials that may be trapped inside.

Landscaping

Water can quickly form puddles around your building. Check to make sure your landscaping directs water away from your building to prevent it from pooling around your building’s foundation.

Outside Eating Areas

If your restaurant has an outdoor bar or seating area, your business has an increased risk of a potential pest infestation. While these places are perfect for dinners and date nights, they’re perfect for pests, too. Sugary drinks, dropped dishes and food preparation areas make for an attractive destination for flies, rodents, wasps, ants, birds and many others.

To prevent these pests from invading your guests’ space, establish a routine maintenance schedule and purchase the right equipment. The following is a good place to start:

  • Use tight fitting garbage receptacles to eliminate any extra spaces for pests to hide. Remember to frequently clean out receptacles to limit lingering trash and discourage pest activity.
  • Hose down outdoor trash receptacles and surrounding areas daily to rid the area of debris. Periodically power washing these bins can get rid of any stubborn debris on dumpster walls.
  • Maintain your property’s landscaping by trimming all shrubs, flower beds and vegetation. Pests are attracted to cluttered areas that provide adequate shelter from predators and the weather, so clearing any overgrown plants or vegetative debris means less hiding spots for pests.
  • Clean any counter tops or food preparation areas to keep your kitchen pest free. Eliminating potential food sources can help deter pests from sniffing out crumbs and leftovers in your dining area.

This summer, protect your restaurant from pests. By inspecting your facility and identifying potential pest hot spots, your team can be prepared to win the fight against pests all summer long. To learn more about how you can strengthen your restaurant’s defences against pests, talk to your pest management provider to find the IPM program that works best for business.

Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. For more information, email Alice Sinia at asinia@orkincanada.com or visit www.orkincanada.com.

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