What Food Services Businesses Need to Know About Cockroaches
One of your workers comes up to you and says they saw a roach. Your heart drops, but you’re still in denial mode. How can you have roaches? You always make sure everything is spic and span. You can’t take the risk, though, so you go with them to check out the area. At first, there’s nothing, but then you move around a few boxes and – yep, cockroaches.
No business wants this to happen to them, but for those in food services, it’s especially horrifying. After all, customers will instantly rethink their choice if they see a roach at a restaurant or grocery store. And food manufacturers can get into lots of trouble if it is discovered that they have a pest problem. Owners can be fined for having an unsanitary business, and may even be shut down.
Still, it’s better to know if you have a problem. At least that way you can take care of it – and if you have a food business, it is vital that you act fast. Luckily, there are steps you can take to eliminate cockroach infestations and keep your business out of trouble. It starts with knowing your enemy.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide and Breed?
Roaches are nocturnal. They enjoy dark, quiet spaces that don’t have much human traffic. They can survive in even the smallest areas, and multiply rapidly over the course of a week. They also enjoy damp places with build-up or waste.
It’s imperative to eliminate nesting homes for roaches because they multiply alarmingly fast. A single female cockroach can lay up to 40 eggs in a month. Each of those eggs will multiply within six weeks, easily creating an infestation.
How Can Cockroaches Make You Sick?
Out of the 30 cockroaches found in human residences, three of them can spread over 33 different types of illnesses, E.coli and salmonella being the biggest. Plus, roaches spread six types of parasitic worms and seven different human diseases.
If that’s not bad enough, cockroach exoskeletons, saliva, and fecal matter also make people very sick, especially when crawling over food or food preparation areas.
So, what can you do to eradicate the roaches?
Keep Workstations and Food Areas Clean
Roaches often take up residence in small spaces near food and water sources, so it’s important to keep food stations and food preparation areas clean. Stay ahead of a roach infestation by:
- Washing dirty dishes and storing them.
- Fixing leaky pipes and stopping dripping water.
- Ensuring floor and sink drains empty appropriately.
- Sealing trash cans and washing them regularly.
- Inspecting food shipment crates for roach eggs or roaches.
You should also try to keep them out of food areas by plugging up any cracks or holes in the walls and closing off any spaces around electrical outlets. Leaving these areas open invites the roaches that may be nesting in the walls to come out. (As a nice bonus, these are also all things that can prevent an infestation in the first place – or reinfestation.)
Then it’s time to eliminate all the nests.
Destroying Roach Residences
Roaches can take up residence nearly anywhere including:
- Corrugated cardboard boxes
- Picture frames
- Wooden artwork or firewood logs
- Old or unused electrical devices
- Hollow furniture legs
- Unused or broken ovens, dishwashers, and microwaves
All these problem areas can be easily remedied. Boxes should be immediately discarded after unpacking. Picture frames should be checked and sprayed frequently. Old devices or large appliances should be repaired for reuse or thrown away. Seal up hollow furniture or discard and purchase solid-legged furniture.
Cockroaches that show up in a food establishment often are a sign of poor sanitation and storage practices. Implement good sanitation and storage practices right away, and regularly check for signs of cockroach infestations.
Still struggling? It’s always a good idea to consult a pest control professional. They can not only make sure that you solve your roach problem completely the first time, but also give you tips on how to keep roaches from coming back.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert and a regular guest on HGTV. He is renowned in the industry as an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions. Mackie and business partner Sandy Costa were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.