When pests are witnessed, they are, for obvious reasons, not going to be a welcome sight irrespective of where they are. However, that same statement is even more true in areas that food is being served. In food service areas, there are three particularly commonly found pests. And for custodial executives, it’s important how an infestation should be dealt with, should it occur.
There’s no doubt that cockroaches pose a health hazard, and so an infestation must be dealt with rapidly. Cockroaches can introduce bacteria, which in turn means that those that frequent the facility can come down with food poisoning, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea.
These insects are naturally attracted to locales where food is easily available. Kitchens tend to be relatively warm and moist, which provides ideal conditions for cockroaches.
Cockroaches are exceptionally resilient; they can live without eating for weeks on end, and they can gain entry to an interior through tiny cracks.
Mice and rats are persistently searching out shelter and food, which makes a food service facility an ideal target for which to seek shelter. In general, people tend to be upset at the very sight of a rodent, which in turn means that a business can suffer tremendously if a rodent infestation were to occur.
Rats and mice are fast on their feet, and they can squeeze through tiny cracks and crevices in an exterior wall or door. They also carry with them diseases, and if this was not reason enough to want to keep rodents out, they can cause fires because of the damage they can inflict on a building.
Thus, the facility staff should be looking out for signs that indicate the presence of rodents. That can include droppings, signs of materials that have been gnawed, and the presence of nesting materials. Again, if an infestation is suspected, it’s imperative to take immediate action.
Flies tend to become more abundant when the weather begins to warm, and, if they are not prevented, they will likely cause many problems in areas where food is served. They are certainly a source of frustration and irritation, but what’s worse is that they can transmit a variety of pathogens which contaminates food.
Flies cause problems such as tuberculosis, E. coli, shingles, salmonella, and other serious illnesses. If they do find their way into a food facility, they are very attracted to foodstuffs such as cereals, beans, and flour.
The very cleanest of food facilities can have problems because of pests. This is why it’s so important to pay close attention to those areas either inside or close to a food facility that can serve to draw pests in.
Firstly, have a look around the exterior of the building. Dining areas in the outdoors should be well swept while tables ought to be cleaned frequently. Patio spaces and sidewalks should be hosed down regularly, too. Nevertheless, custodial staff should not leave areas of standing water, as by doing so will serve to attract more pests.
If receptacles where trash is kept are stored close to a facility’s entryway, they should be moved. Trash will attract pests, so receptacles should be kept well away from a facility’s exterior wall
Indoor trash cans must be emptied and then cleaned regularly, using hot, soapy water. Irrespective that a trash receptacle is inside or outside, it’s very important that every one of them has a lid that is tight fitting to keep pests out.
Inside a kitchen, foods that tend to be particularly attractive to pests, like flour and sugar, should be placed inside containers that have tight fitting lids. To reduce the number of flies, fly screens should be fitted to window frames and doorways, while air curtains can also make for a good investment for main points of entry.
Dining areas should receive plenty of attention, too. This will involve the regular cleansing of tables and countertops, sweeping and mopping of floors, washing down chairs and checking cushions for leftover food debris. Soda machines and food vending machines should also be checked regularly for any signs of harboring pests.
Cracks or gaps that appear around vents, wiring, pipes, and drains should be sealed over, as this will help to keep cockroaches and rodents out.
Food service areas are particularly prone to numerous pests, and those pests are not merely limited to the ones listed above. Nevertheless, with some due diligence, it is possible to deter pests to a very minimum.