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  • Writer's pictureJsl Editorial Team

Pest Management In Commercial Kitchens And Restaurants.

Many restaurants and commercial kitchen owners will do whatever it takes to keep their places free of pests because of the damaging effects the presence of pests have on their business. The sight of pests can do a permanent damage on your reputation as you are at the risk of losing customers. Pests are attracted to food remains, warmth, and holes amongst other things around the restaurant. They enjoy staying in the dark and corners of a building, a common reason they are mostly found in the garbage areas. Commercial kitchens are found in schools, hospitals, hotels and recreation centres.

Why do pests come to kitchens and restaurants?

· The presence of garbage cans. Pests like rodents and flies need food and are usually attracted to waste organic materials.

· The presence of entrances and exits. Pests enter into your restaurants often through open doors, crevices or windows.

· The presence of Lighting. Many pests swarm around the light bulbs outside the restaurant. There also pests like cockroaches that avoid places with bright lights. So, if you have dim light in your restaurant, they will always be around.

What are the pests of importance in commercial kitchens and restaurants?

These include:

  • Flies: Flies are among the filthiest of all pests, carrying more than a half-billion microorganisms on their body and legs that can contaminate food and undermine your reputation. Examples are houseflies, fruit flies, gnats, drain flies, phorid flies etc.

  • Ants: Ants are persistent pests that tend to move in groups and can quickly cause an ant infestation. They eat at and damage things quickly. Examples are white ants, little black ants, pharaoh ant, odorous house ant etc.

  • Cockroaches: cockroaches carry a lot of germs around in their bodies and contaminate food by shedding their skin. They include the German cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, brown banded cockroaches, American cockroaches etc.

  • Rats and mice: The presence of rodents is easy to spot with their droppings, chew marks, gnawed wood and squeaking sound.

Examples of rodents that can be found in kitchens and restaurants are house mice and Norway (brown) rats.

Other pests are weevils, spiders, silverfish, wasps etc.

What is the importance of Restaurant pest control?

Pest control is important in commercial kitchens and restaurants for several reasons:

  • Most country’s Food Inspection Agencies have law that states that all food premises must be free from pests, vermin, contaminants and the conditions that harbor them. They must also protect against pests entering the premises. Restaurant pest control helps to avoid fines and lawsuits from government agencies that monitor the activities of restaurants within each country.

  • It protects you from unnecessary loss of income. Commercial kitchens and restaurants are profit making businesses. Once pests infest your restaurant, you would lose your customers and eventually, it’d lead to a marked reduction in income.

  • It helps your restaurant avoid potential food poisoning from pests introducing germs and diseases to food materials.

  • It helps in building or restoring your business reputation.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated pest management anticipates seasonal pest pressures and prepare for them before they occur. IPM begins with a comprehensive inspection of your property for any signs of current pest infestations. It also examines how secure your business is against pests entering the premises. There are four components of the pest prevention and management strategy:

  1. Prevent

Prevention they say is better than cure. This component aims to stop pests from entering your property and mitigate any factors that can attract pests thereby minimizing the risk of ever having to implement any pest control strategies. It involves checking sanitation practices, potential harborage sites, odour producers and pest entry points and act to correct any wrong practice.

Other ways to prevent pest infestation in your facility’s kitchen include:

  • Keeping heavy kitchen equipment on rollers to make it easier to clean around them.

  • Ensure that all of the hard to reach and see places are clean and crumbs free.

  • Cleaning floor drains and ventilation screens regularly.

  • Replacing cracked tiles on the walls and floors and sealing up gaps around any fixtures or pipes to remove entrance and exit points.

  • Storing all food stuff in pest proof containers.

  • Removing standing water, fixing leaking pipes or dripping faucets.

  • Taking out the trash on a regular basis in strong bags.

  • Using proper waste disposal methods.

  • Keeping the dumpster away from the doors and emptied regularly.

2. Monitor

The next stage is regular monitoring of your premises to ensure they remain pest-free. This includes checking monthly to ensure that the preventive practices put in place are being adhered to and that they still remain effective in keeping out pests. Regular monitoring helps to detect the unique pest pressures your establishment faces. You should also keep in mind that many pests reproduce at high rates.

3. Intervene

If pests have already found their way into your premises, then pest control methods have to be implemented. The treatment depends on the type of pest that is discovered since each pest has different habits and life cycles.

4. Control

There are two pest control methods that could be employed in commercial kitchens and restaurants: physical and chemical methods. The procedure is determined by the method being used, the type of pest, and the size of the property.

  1. Physical Method

The physical method of controlling pests in restaurants involves the use of electrocution, traps, and other tools to completely eradicate or reduce rodents and insects.

  • Traps

Traps are mainly used against rodents either in or outside the premises of the restaurants. Place the rodent traps in areas such as Dumpster areas, food storage, and other places rodents are likely to be seen. Number, document and regularly check the traps to remove any rodent caught.

  • Electrocutors

Electrical discharge insect control systems are mainly used to attract and kill different kinds of flying insects. The devices are not recommended for indoor use and so they should be installed outside the restaurant. The light bulbs should be properly set and the whole devices connected to the power source. Switch on the devices and leave them to attract and kill pests. Make sure to regularly inspect and clean the trays to remove dead insects from them. If the insects accumulate, it can spread bacteria and viruses being spread all over the restaurant through the electric insect killer.

2. Chemical Method

The chemical method of controlling pests demands a lot of caution. The pesticides must be the approved ones and user of such products must be meticulous enough to follow the instructions that are found on the label. The fumigation exercise should be carried out when the restaurant or kitchen is not in operation. Once that is done, the treated areas must be given some time before people are allowed to enter them. Equipment and other things in the room at the time of fumigation should be thoroughly washed to avoid contamination with food materials.

Note: the following are essential for the chemical pest control method:

· Documentation of every chemical used, date, the quantity, and areas they are used.

· Placement of bait stations in strategic places outside of food areas.

· Regular checking of the bait station for dead rodents.

· Removal and disposal of old or infested baits to avoid insect infestation.

An integrated pest management (IPM) for restaurant and food services industry could also include:

  • Training on hygiene.

  • Advice on good housekeeping practices.

  • Building maintenance and upkeep of the property.

Pest Control Plan

You should develop a proper plan for controlling pests at your facility to avoid repeated pest problems in order not to lose your customers and your reputation. A good pest control plan puts certain factors into consideration including:

  • Who will handle the pest control activities? Will It be done by trained staff or will you employ the services of a professional pest management company? It has to be clearly stated in your plan.

  • The places you want pest control activities to be done in the restaurant. The specific areas, inside and outside.

  • The type of pest control you want to be done (chemical or physical).

  • The machines or tools that will be used (the ones you already have and the ones you need to get).

  • How long it will take to finish it and how many times in a month will it be done.

  • The process involved in carrying out the pest control activities.

  • Cost Implication.

Pest control cannot be trifled with by restaurant and commercial kitchen owners as an untreated pest infestation can lead to the closure of your restaurant, loss of customers, damaged business reputation, and loss of money with pests taking over your food business.

Did you know?

There are different types of pesticides based on the type of animal each kills:

  • Insecticides – insects

  • Herbicides – plants

  • Rodenticides – rodents (rats & mice)

  • Bactericides – bacteria

  • Fungicides – fungi

  • Larvicides – larvae

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