It's All In Where You Look: Effective Pest Control for Restaurants

Restaurants are filled with hidden pest pockets, often complete with food, water and shelter — the three essentials for a happy pest. If pests continue to trouble your restaurant those pests have found some especially good hiding places…and you’ve missed them!
To get results, you’ll have to do a better job of tracking down those hiding places. First, divide the restaurant into different sections or zones.  Inspect them intensively. Go over them with a fine-toothed comb. Remove inspection plates from equipment, turn over furniture, move stock, pull “gunk” out of cracks and crevices and spray flushing agents. And be sure to check the following sites:
Idle equipment. A vintage dough mixer or out-of-commission oven can become a haven for cockroaches and ants. Idle equipment, often covered by a drop cloth or used for storage, sits ignored by everyone. But it needs to be inspected periodically to be sure it hasn’t become infested.
Soft drink syrup cabinet. Spills and leaks of sweet syrup from lines leading to soda dispensers provide high-energy pest food. Compressors provide warmth. Similar spots that require periodic inspections are beer and wine dispensers.
Steam table and salad bar. What a perfect environment for pests: moist heat, condensation, food spills, and lots of cracks and crevices. Don’t overlook built-in light fixtures.
Behind kickplates. The void between the floor and the first shelf in dish cabinets and under sinks — usually covered by a kickplate — is often ignored. The void is usually open from the back, which means that food scraps, spills and the like, can accumulate, attracting pests. This area can often be checked from the back by sliding cabinets away from the wall.
Ice maker/coolers. Refrigeration equipment provides warmth around the compressor, moisture from condensation and clogged drains, and food from spills, scum and mold. In addition, a variety of dark, protected hiding places are available inside motor housings. Walk-in coolers also provide ample hiding places inside false floors, ceilings and walls.
Dishwasher. The core of many a pest problem — dishwashing equipment — is full of nooks and crannies where food debris accumulates. In the worst cases, dirty dishes may be left overnight. In most cases, the inside of dishwashers isn’t cleaned often enough. High temperature and humidity favor cockroaches and, along with detergents, quickly break down most pesticides. A dishwasher can be a real trouble spot. Be sure to inspect around motors and conveyor belt drives.
Floor drains. Workers wash down prep surfaces and floors with water, carrying food scraps, grease and crud into and around floor drains. “Goo” in drains provides food for cockroaches, fruit flies, drain flies and other pests. Deteriorating drains often allow liquid to flow under tiles and/or slabs, creating the potential for a major pest problem. Inspect in and around drains with a bright flashlight and a flushing agent.
Tray racks. Cafeterias use plastic trays that are often stored horizontally in wheeled racks. These trays are often left in an unsanitary condition overnight and the racks can become infested with cockroaches.
Planters. Built-in planter room dividers can become infested with outdoor cockroaches, ants, gnats and other primarily outdoor pests. The pests may be in the soil and mulch, or in the planter’s false bottom and hidden voids.
Dining room booths. Voids under and inside the back of the cushion often harbor pests and are rarely checked. Austin Frishman, owner of AMF Pest Management Consulting, Boca Raton, Fla., has found that the booths closest to the ketchup/condiment table are most vulnerable to infestation.
By focusing on these pest “hot spots” in restaurants, You and you Pest Management Professional will be well on your way to creating a pest-free environment in your restaurant.
Excerpted from Pest Control Technology

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