Safety is Served: Restaurant Pest Control Tips for COVID-19

In today’s current state of affairs, sanitation is always top of mind. This is especially true for the bar and restaurant industry, as food businesses around the country have had to close their doors or solely focus on delivery and take-out services. Unfortunately, insects have not been following social distancing rules, which is why pest control has been deemed an essential service.

Whether facing an extended shutdown or approaching an opportunity to reopen, there are steps that bar and restaurant owners can take to strengthen their sanitation strategy to curb any potential insect infestations. The Zoëcon team reached out to some pest management customers to ask the best ways professionals can work alongside restaurant clients to help effectively treat insect infestations and prepare for a new normal.

While Doors are Closed: Clean Sweep

Empty restaurants and bars provide a great opportunity to have everything thoroughly cleaned. PMPs should work alongside their clients to educate them on the necessary steps they should be taking to keep their cleanliness high and their infestations low. Most PMPs we spoke with expect service calls to spike in coming months as restaurants open back up.

  • Recommend to owners they take this time to do a deep steam clean to remove grease/food debris and pull things out that are usually not moved often (beer boxes, sitting booths, storage areas, etc.) and let a pest control technician treat these harborage areas.
  • Cracks, crevices, holes, and door sweeps should all be inspected and properly sealed and/or repaired.
  • Help eliminate conducive conditions by reminding owners to fix leaky pipes and install vents or fans to reduce humidity and unwanted insects.
  • Recommend to owners that all drain covers be pulled and cleaned of debris and organic material at least 3ft down with a wire brush.
  • A deep cleaning of the bar areas to remove fermenting liquids that breed small flies should be done now.
  • Repairing cracked tiles and missing grout that are overlooked during day-to-day operations will also minimize small fly breeding sites.
  • Encourage owners to perform a deep steam cleaning of dumpsters and dumpster enclosures to lower house fly pressure. Deep cleaning of this area is easy to skip during normal operation.
  • How’s the landscaping? Owners should have any shrubs, trees, etc. touching the building cut back. Some customers like having the ivy grow up the wall but it’s best to remove this as it’s an excellent Asian cockroach harborage area.
  • One of the big issues will be American cockroaches. If p-traps in drains have been left to dry, American roaches could be coming inside in large numbers. Tell owners that water needs to be poured down these drains in large quantities to slow this migration down.

While Doors are Closed: Time to Treat

Now is the time for the pest management professionals to come in and take care of the pest issues that cannot be properly addressed when the restaurant is in full operation. The PMPs we spoke with cited cockroaches as their primary insect of concern for bars and restaurants, adding that now is a great opportunity to do a thorough treatment.

  • Bio-remedial foaming solutions (Pro tip: add Gentrol® Concentrate, per label instructions) can be injected into drains and have a great opportunity to work their magic since drains aren’t being used as much.
  • This is a great chance for PMPs to treat any drop ceilings. Many pests inside should be receptive to baits since food sources have become scarce.
  • Since the dumpster areas outside are not being used to the capacity they normally would, rodents are more likely to come indoors since their food sources have been limited. Now is the time to trap them inside and do exclusion work.
  • A thorough crack-and-crevice treatment using an insect growth regulator like Gentrol® Complete will ensure owners and patrons return to a cockroach-free environment.

Open for Business: Now What?

Before officially opening back up, remind owners to seek advice and cleaning recommendations from their PMP that apply to their specific restaurant or bar. Pest control technicians should do a full-service treatment that involves a residual, flushing, and dusting solution. If any equipment such as bait stations or traps were placed in open areas, be sure they are removed to avoid patrons spotting them. Cleanliness will be paramount moving forward, and all areas should be disinfected daily using an approved product labeled for each area. Encourage owners to re-educate employees on how to use a pest sighting log to stay on top of any new potential infestations.

The Best Tools for the Job

Featuring IGR (S)-hydroprene, The Gentrol® product line has delivered responsible solutions in food handling establishments since 1984. Professionals who use Gentrol® products see them as indispensable in protocol strategies. Using IGR technology with a translocating active ingredient, Gentrol® products are an insurance policy to prevent future reinfestations and callbacks for cockroaches, drain and fruit flies, stored product pests, and more.

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