No business wants to be infested by pests – but if your business is within the catering industry, a pest infestation could have far more serious consequences.
Most importantly they can spread harmful bacteria, which is dangerous for customers and ultimately could lead to your business being shut down, due to you not complying with the food hygiene regulations. Even if it isn’t shut down you will lose business as soon as the rumour starts to spread (and they will, quickly thanks to social media) and your good name will be tarnished.
Don’t wait until you see pests to do something about it. Effective pest control is vital at all times to keep them out of your premises and ensure your food is safe for consumption.
So, how do you implement pest control when there aren’t actually any pests to control? Firstly, it is imperative that you check your premises regularly for signs of pests – but what should you be looking out for?
Rats and mice – Small footprints in dust, droppings, holes in walls and doors, nests, gnawed goods or packaging, grease or smear marks, urine stains on food packaging.
Flies and flying insects – Bodies of insects, live insects, webbing, nests, droning or buzzing, maggots.
Cockroaches – Eggs and egg cases, moulted ‘skins’, the insects themselves, droppings.
Ants – Small piles of sand or soil, the insects themselves, flying ants on hot days.
Birds – Feathers, droppings, nests, noise, the birds themselves
Beetles and weevils – Moving insects, particularly in dry food, small maggots
Check deliveries thoroughly for signs of pests. If the delivery does show any signs of pests – such as gnawed packaging – do not accept it. This is a key way pests could be bought into your business.
Keep external areas tidy and clean. Make sure bins have close-fitting lids, and that these are kept closed at all times, as well as cleaned and disinfected regularly.
How can you implement and keep track of this?
You could put up extra signs around your kitchen and outside areas to remind people that bins must have lids on, all dirty plates must be put away before the last person leaves, no food should be left out and so on. Also, put reminders in a diary or on a calendar and create a rota for certain tasks such as cleaning the bins.
You could also employ a pest contractor – keep a record of their details and visits in a diary, plus feedback and action points and notes of how and when these are carried out.
Right, so what do you do if you do find pests whilst conducting your searches?
If you do find pests in your business then you need to act fast, so they can cause as little damage as possible. Take a look at the likes of Victor Pest where you will find traps and repellents. You may want to have these handy, so they are ready to use as soon as you have a problem and you don’t have to go out and buy them or wait for an order to arrive. The repellents can be used to stop the likes of rats and mice even entering your premises.
If you don’t want to do it yourself then call in the experts and they can do it for you.
Remember – never let pest control bait or sprays come into contact with food, packaging, equipment or surfaces, because they are likely to be poisonous to people and the consequences could be just as severe as having the pests themselves.