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Though unwanted in every industry, a pest problem in a restaurant can quickly lead to healthcode violations and closure. A combination of access to food, moist areas, and shelter make restaurants an ideal home for bugs and rodents, so it is important that you do your best to prevent pests and act on an invasion as soon as possible.
Pests Affect on Business
Pests cause a multitude of issues for restaurants, which is why they need to be dealt with swiftly. Insects and rodents commonly feed on stored food items, burrowing their way through storage containers, contaminating the food and exposing it to the elements. This makes the food unsafe for consumption, requiring you to order more and increasing your costs.
In addition to the costs and nuisance of contaminated food, pest often cause structural damage by burrowing and chewing through walls and pipes. They can also spread bacteria and disease to your staff and patrons. And when customers notice that there's a pest problem, your reputation is at stake. A pest invasion can easily lead to the closure of your restaurant, so be sure to call a professional exterminator as soon as you notice any problems.
Common Restaurant Pests
When it comes to restaurants, just about any pest can make its way in, but there are pests that are more common in the food service industry, such as:
- Cockroaches: One of the least welcome creatures around, cockroaches are seriously detrimental to the health of your restaurant and its customers. These insects are odorous and known to transmit diseases, with large groups causing upper respiratory issues. In addition, the reputation of cockroaches makes it important that you act before a customer sees even one; a single roach sighting can lead to lost business, healthcode violations, and even closure.
- Flies: Few insects are more of a nuisance than flies, especially when you're trying to eat. There are several species around the world, almost all of which are attracted to decaying organic materials, feces, food waste, and garbage. More than annoying, these insects are disease carriers and present health risks for your guests and staff.
- Rodents: Insects are unwelcome at best, but rodents are perhaps even less wanted pests in the restaurant industry. Mice and rats burrow their way into food supplies, walls, and vents, breeding and building nests. These creatures spread disease and contaminate food supplies, costing you in replenishment and repairs. A rodent problem can spell the end for a restaurant.
- Stored product pests: These pests can be broken into four groups: external feeders, internal feeders, scavengers, and secondary pests. External feeders includes beetles and moths that feed on processed grains. Internal feeders develop larvae inside the kernels of grains and seeds, such as weevils. Scavengers feed on the damaged grains left behind by other pests, with secondary pests mainly causing damage to the food packaging itself.
How Pests Enter Your Restaurant
Typically, pests are looking for food and shelter, making a restaurant an ideal location for them. However, your restaurant doesn't have to be a pest magnet. Structural issues, such as holes or cracks in the walls, make it easier for insects and rodents to enter the building. If you notice any possible entryways for pests, have a professional seal them. Other pest causes in restaurants include infrequent cleaning and improper storage of food and waste, which create a pest's ideal environment.
How Much Do Restaurant Pest Control Services Cost?
Pest control service costs are based on the type of pest problem you have, the severity of the issue, the size of your restaurant, the amount of treatments you need, and the company you hire.
- An initial treatment averages between $150 and $200. If you require monthly treatments to manage your pest problem, expect to pay between $120 and $165 per month. This includes treatments for ants, flies, cockroaches, rodents, and stored food pests.
- Services specifically for fire ant control have an average cost between $100 and $300. Removal of carpenter ants, which are more difficult to eradicate, costs between $500 and $1,000.
- Fly control services cost between $20 and $35 per month on average. Fly lights and mist systems cost between $55 and $295 each.
- Rodent removal has an average cost of $20 to $35 per month, with bait traps (if used) costing between $20 and $30 apiece.
The Power of Pest Prevention
Just as in healthcare, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to pest control. It's easier – and cheaper – to prevent pests than it is to get rid of them.
First, make sure that any doors or windows in your restaurant are not open unless they need to be. Otherwise, you've created your own point of entry for pests to get in. Next, repair any holes in your foundation, roof, and walls. These make perfect entrances for pests and should be fixed as soon as they are noticed. It is also important to properly and securely cover and store all food. Also, empty your garbage regularly. Lastly, but most certainly not least, clean regularly. Sweep, mop, vacuum, wipe off counters and cooking surfaces; anything that might be dirty should be cleaned to keep any possible pests away.