Safety is Served Part 2: Restaurant Pest Control Tips for COVID-19

The bar and restaurant industry has felt the weight of this challenging time as they experience different stages of closures, restrictions, or re-openings. Regardless of what phase these establishments find themselves in, it is critical that restaurant owners and your technicians work together to achieve long-term insect control through a combination of sanitation protocols and products. The Zoëcon team followed-up with several PMPs across the country to see what advice they had for successful restaurant pest control for the present and beyond.

Outdoor Dining Brings Outdoor Insects

With most states allowing larger capacity for outdoor dining than indoor, restaurants are re-opening patios or creating outdoor seating sections for the first time. Controlling insects outdoors presents a different set of challenges for restaurants and PMPs, and the higher volume of outdoor customers will increase the threat of insect activity. PMPs will need to consider treatment protocols for outdoor settings, and should work alongside their clients to educate them on the necessary steps they should be taking to clean consistently and visibly.

For Restaurant Owners and Staff – Exclusion and Sanitation Tips

Most PMPs we spoke with stressed the importance of routine sanitation and exclusion to prevent pest problems.

  • Encourage owners to perform a deep steam cleaning of dumpsters and dumpster enclosures to lower house fly pressure.
  • When situations call for an outdoor treatment during business hours, consider essential oil based sprays.
  • Make sure screens on windows and doors are intact to keep insects from coming inside. With doors opening and closing more than usual to service outdoor customers, restaurants should consider air curtains or other barriers to keep flies from coming inside.
  • Remind owners the importance of keeping the grounds free of food and trash as pests like ants and house flies can be attracted to even the smallest amount of remaining food.
  • Give patio seating areas one last clean after closing to avoid attracting rodents and insects overnight.
  • Any extra downtime that restaurant staff has should be spent cleaning and organizing to remove clutter, which will help cut down on pest harborage.

For PMPs – Insect Control Tips

With many restaurants limited to only patio seating, now is the time for pest management professionals to come in and take care of the unique pest issues that these areas can create. The PMPs we spoke with cited ants and flies as their primary insect of concern for outdoor bars and restaurants.

  • If the account hasn’t been serviced in a while, re-inspect for insect activity. Chances are that roach, rodent, small fly and house fly populations have increased as restaurants opened back up.
  • PMPs should assist owners in hanging fly traps in discreet locations around dining areas, and ensure that traps are downwind from customers.
  • Treat dumpster and grease collection areas with an effective fly bait such as Musca-Cide® Bait Spray. Remember to also treat popular fly resting spots where customers dine, including table legs, chair legs and planter boxes.

Indoor treatments will still be important as the kitchen can attract heavy insect activity, and some dining rooms are still open, even if at a limited capacity.

  • The limited capacity presents a great opportunity to detail clean and treat seating booths and other indoor seating areas with a long-residual solutions such as Gentrol® IGR Concentrate.
  • Use Gentrol® Aerosol or Gentrol® Complete as a crack-and-crevice treatment in the kitchen and indoor dining areas during every visit.

The Best Tools for the Job

The harsh realities facing the restaurant industry have forced several operational cuts. For some, this includes limiting treatments to a quarterly basis. For those restaurants only treating every three months, professionals turn to the Gentrol® line of products for long residual control. The Gentrol® insect growth regulator, (S)-hydroprene, effectively breaks the insect life cycle and offers 120 days of control. Gentrol® products deliver responsible solutions in food handling establishments to prevent future infestations and callbacks for cockroaches, drain and fruit flies, stored product pests, and more.