Found Cockroaches in Your Restaurant? Follow These Steps!
A menace on any property, cockroaches are a common pest that infests homes and businesses across Ontario and Canada. They are keen consumers that will eat anything they can find, and their populations grow very quickly if left unchecked.
But for restaurants in particular, cockroaches represent an even larger challenge that can result in a shutdown if discovered by health inspection authorities.
So, what can restaurants do to fight back against a cockroach infestation? In this guide, GreenLeaf Pest Control will explain the behaviour of cockroaches and how you can take actionable steps to prevent and eliminate them off your property for good.
What are Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are a type of insect that exist in over 4000 different species. Despite this diversity, approximately 30 or so actually invade human homes and businesses, most remain outdoors. Of these, only four species of cockroaches are considered pests. For example, the Wood Cockroach, also common in Canada, only lives outdoors and will die if left indoors due to the lack of moisture.
Cockroaches are ancient creatures with a long history dating back over 300 million years ago where they shared the planet with dinosaurs. Even in ancient times, people were aware of cockroaches and often saw them as a type of vermin in their homes.
The cockroach is a common pest that appears all over the world in all sorts of environments and climates. Though you might think the Canadian winter would be easily capable of killing them off, cockroaches are hardy, and some can comfortably withstand arctic temperatures. A few varieties of outdoor cockroach are even able to produce their own form of antifreeze which helps to survive extreme temperatures such as −122 °C. Luckily, most indoor cockroaches struggle to survive at temperatures below freezing, though this does cause them to venture into homes and businesses for food and shelter.
There are many different types of cockroaches across Ontario and Canada, including:
- German Cockroach
- Brown-Banded Cockroach
- Oriental Cockroach
- Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach
Of these types of cockroaches, the German Cockroach and Oriental Cockroach are the most likely to infest human properties. Unfortunately, cockroaches can be very social creatures and are drawn to each other. This means that once several cockroaches have reached a food source, many more will arrive soon. To make matters worse, German Cockroaches are prolific breeders and females are able to produce up to 300 offspring in one year! For this reason, a professional exterminator is often needed to make sure these eggs are not forgotten about even if the problem appears to have been resolved.
How Do I Spot Cockroaches?
The appearance of cockroaches varies depending on their appearance. However, to spot a cockroach, look for an insect that has:
- Flat and oval-shaped.
- Approximately 2cm to 8cm in size.
- A small head with a larger shield-like neck.
- 6 long legs that are thin in shape.
- Two large antennae that stick out of the head.
Catching cockroaches can be difficult despite their obvious appearance as they are nocturnal feeders. Given that most restaurants are empty late at night and the early morning, cockroaches have plenty of time to travel over your property without you noticing. This is why many cases of cockroach infestation go unnoticed until a public health inspection, which can have devastating effects for a restaurant’s reputation and financial future.
Why Cockroaches are a danger to health and safety
Indoor cockroaches love to live in environments filled with food. As omnivores that will eat pretty much anything, cockroaches find restaurant kitchens particularly attractive. They also prefer kitchens as they have plenty of humidity from cooking, refrigerating, and steaming food.
Cockroaches are unlikely to bite humans and only do so when they are unable to find food, which is also highly unlikely in a restaurant. Instead, they are dangerous for several health and safety reasons, such as:
- Disease transmission, cockroaches have been reported to spread typhoid, polio and even cholera.
- Cockroach droppings and saliva are known to aggravate people who are asthmatic.
- Bacterial contamination that can cause severe stomach illnesses in humans.
- Skin irritation from bites and contact with fecal matter.
Not only are they a major health hazard, but cockroaches are also an unsightly presence in any restaurant that is sure to deter visitors and attract a lot of negative attention for restaurant owners. Even just one cockroach sighting can spread on social media and instantly ruin the hard-earned reputation it took years for a restaurant to achieve.
Over the years, many restaurants across Ontario have faced the punishing consequences of not identifying and removing a cockroach infestation. Back in 2009, a Scarborough restaurant received an eye-watering $20,000.00 fine for negligence against cockroaches. Flash forward to 2020 and the city of Toronto continues to take a hard stance against rodent infestation, with the local DineSafe program highlighting that restaurants will be told to close if they experience a “rodent or insect infestation without effective method of pest control”.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Your Restaurant
Unfortunately, it can be hard to get rid of cockroaches from a restaurant without professional help. However, there are several steps you can take that will help prevent the problem from worsening or returning.
1. Store All Food Away
The first line of defence against a cockroach infestation in a restaurant is to make sure all food is kept away from them. Cockroaches tend to be harder to spot on floors, so ensure all food is placed on shelves or racks above the ground. Tightly seal all ingredients and prepared food in glass or plastic containers to prevent cockroaches from accessing the food. This will also block out some of the smells that attract them.
2. Thoroughly Check Your Food Delivery & Chain
Cockroaches reach restaurants in a variety of ways. While many cockroaches enter businesses through garbage bins and sewers, some can be accidentally delivered right to your doorstep through food deliveries.
Given that cockroaches are attracted to food and damp places often found in storage, farms and warehouses, they sometimes manage to make their way into ingredient boxes that arrive at your restaurant.
To prevent them reaching your restaurant, managers can take proactive steps by inspecting all food deliveries when they arrive. If you find a cockroach inside, reject the delivery and alert your supplier, as they are likely unaware of the issue.
3. Pack Garbage in Spill-Proof Containers
Garbage bags are ideal territory for cockroaches, who feed off the leftover food waste. Even if all your fresh food is safely tucked away from cockroaches, they will still be attracted to food waste stored in garbage cans and bags, especially if they are left open or are split. This allows them easy access to food waste and will sustain them as they grow in population.
To cut off their food supply and stop attracting more cockroaches, make sure all garbage bags and bins are sealed and spill-proof when not in use.
4. Contact an Exterminator
No restaurant should have to close and hope that cockroaches will disappear naturally, especially if the previous efforts do not work. Contacting a commercial pest control company can get the job done much faster and will guarantee longer-lasting results. Their exterminators are skilled professionals that not only know how to get rid of cockroaches in a restaurant, but they can also advise you on how to prevent them from coming back.
When choosing a commercial pest control company, it is always a good idea to choose one that prioritizes a quality service over cheap shortcuts. Some exterminators offer quick-fixes that seem to mask the cockroach issue without properly exterminating them. It is much more financially responsible to pay for quality cockroach extermination services than risk being fined or shut down due to a cockroach infestation. Similarly, it is a wise idea to choose a cockroach exterminator who uses eco-friendly and safe extermination methods so that your diners are not affected by pesticides or harmful chemicals when eating in your restaurant afterwards.
Commercial Pest Control for Toronto & Southern Ontario
If you manage a restaurant and are experiencing difficulties with removing cockroaches off your property, you should act quickly and contact your local exterminator to remove them before they cause a health and safety issue.
At GreenLeaf Pest Control, our experienced team of cockroach exterminators and commercial wildlife experts use only the best pest control methods to ensure long-lasting results. More importantly, all our methods are environmentally-responsible and safe, meaning you can get your business back on its feet again the right way.
Our service also caters to many other businesses across southern Ontario, including Toronto, Barrie, Guelph and more! Call us today on (416) 998-9473 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are more than happy to help resolve your pest or cockroach problem for good!