Finding pests of any kind within restaurants is often a deal breaker for most customers.


The geographical location of the establishment

  • type of food service operation
  • Any structural deficiencies in your building
  • How business implements sanitary measures and practices

What are the common pests found in restaurants and food establishments?




Rodents (common): 


Mice and rats are almost always associated with unsanitary areas, and many people find them disgusting. Rodents can spread diseases like E. Coli, Listeria and Salmonella, 

Their modes of contamination include: 

  • Contact of food/ packaging/ kitchen tools and surfaces with their feces and urine 
  • Contact with rodent’s teeth when they chew through food packaging 


Cockroaches (common): 


They are considered to be one of the most complex insects to eradicate. They are resilient as they can live weeks without food or water.y They can even live weeks without their head! 

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects. They prefer to live, feed and breed in moist, dark places such as behind refrigerators, sinks and stoves, underfloor drains, inside motors and major appliances. They can flatten their bodies to fit into narrow areas, which is why they may also be found hiding behind wallpaper, within wall cracks and beneath rubber mats, 

Cockroach feces or droppings can resemble either coffee grounds or black pepper. More giant cockroaches have cylindrical feces. The quantity of visible feces is often a good indicator of the level or duration of infestation.

Cockroaches have a distinctly unpleasant smell, often oily or musty. 

Cockroach eggs or “oothecae” are oval-shaped, naturally protected from many over-the-counter insecticides, and often left in hidden locations. 

These pests can: 

  • enter infested items brought inside
  • enter establishment via gaps, crevices and cracks in the exterior
  • enter via sewer pipes or drains


Flies (common): 


Flies are so mobile and can land on different surfaces, making it easy for them to carry disease and contaminate other surfaces in a short period. They contaminate any other surface or solid food they land on by releasing fecal matter or vomiting and then sucking the vomit back into their system. 

This is why they are a significant concern in restaurants and why flying insect control products are so important.


Stored Product Pests: 


These insects enter your restaurant hidden within the grain, flour, and nuts. They eat, breed, and excrete within these products, creating bacteria that can not only alter the flavour but also cause allergic reactions or irritate your diner’s digestive tract.

Pests, whether rodents, flying or crawling insects, have no business around food. They are the bane of every chef or food establishment owner.

The presence of pests in any food establishment is a sanitation violation. Pests introduce diseases that can be a health endangerment. It is also detrimental to the reputation of the establishment and the brand. 

As with most things, it is good to begin assessing the conditions of your establishment and other factors to control any infestation better. 

Things to consider are:

These pests include :

  • moths
  • weevils
  • beetles
  • mites
  • and other small insects 

This category of pests is not prominently visible, so staff needs to be vigilant when receiving or bringing in products. They also need to rotate stock to check for any sign of infestation regularly. 


Hot Spots For Infestation


Every establishment is unique, but pests have a few favourite spots in and around any restaurant that demand particular attention.




When dealing with outdoor pests, addressing a few key problem areas is essential to remove current pests in your outdoor dining area and prevent new pests from appearing.

  • Lighting  

The warmth from the light bulbs and fixtures in the establishment’s exterior can attract flying insects. This trait is why using ultraviolet lights to attract insects into bug zappers and glue traps are effective pest control. 

For new builds, a way to address having sufficient lighting without much of the flying insects 

that they attract, is to try installing fixtures with some distance from the establishment entrance but have them direct the light towards doorways. 

  • Dumpsters
      • Dumpsters are trash haven; therefore, pests love to converge inside to feed or breed. They should be positioned away from the main establishment. 
      • They should have lids that shut lightly. 
      • Consider getting the size that fits your establishment’s needs to avoid overflow or require separate trash bags that can be left exposed. 
      • Dumpsters also need love. They should be regularly cleaned but ensure that the dirty water from cleaning the dumpster goes directly to a drain, not letting it pool around the dumpster. The dirty water can emit an off-putting smell that can turn people off and attract pests. 

RELATED READ: How To Do Effective Waste Management To Help Your Business


  • Entrances & Exits: 


It makes sense that pests can come in and out through open windows and doors. Therefore,  keep them closed when possible, But for spaces that require them to open frequently or extended,

  • Invest in air curtains to keep flying insects out 
  • Install door sweeps to seal gaps from the bottoms of doors and keep pests out
  • Regularly check the integrity of your structure and inspect for cracks and seal those crevices accordingly. 



Here are a few critical areas to monitor when deterring pests inside your restaurant.  

  • Dining & Food Prep Areas: 
    • Staff should ensure that they wipe down tables and seats as soon as the diner leaves 
    • Staff should include sweeping the area around and under the table 
    • Staff should thoroughly clean the sites where pests are found
    • Staff should promptly remove finished plates from the outdoor area
    • Staff should keep the kitchen clean daily
  • Storage Area: 
    • Staff should ensure that dry food products are in tightly sealed containers to prevent insects from flying or crawling in, 
    • Staff should keep containers at least 6″ off the ground and 12″ away from walls to make inspection and cleaning easy. 
    • Staff should ensure that the containers and other stocks should be rotated, particularly the slow-moving products, since they are more likely to hold pests.

  • Trash Cans: 
    • Trash cans need to have covers or lids, and staff should ensure that lids are always down.
    • Staff should ensure that trash cans are lined with a liner to ease disposal and limit trash contact with the actual trash can interior.
    • Even if a liner is used, staff should keep the bin clean of any trash remnants that may slip through punctures in the liner.

  • Floor Drains: 

Pests like to breed in floor drains must be regularly checked. Inspect beneath the drain grate for loose debris and keep the drain itself clean. 


Educate the Staff About Pest Control Prevention


The most comprehensive sanitary and cleaning policies can be available if the staff does not practice or follow them. Then it’s all for nothing. Prevention is still the best thing. But when infestation happens, and the problem is dealt with, the staff must follow proper practices. You might want to give incentive to your staff when they report any potential infestation. 


Get Professional Pest Control Help


Pest control is a commitment and is an ongoing process. Infestation needs to be addressed promptly. Some pests are hard to manage, and that’s when skilled professionals with access to suitable pesticides can help you manage the problem as soon as possible. 


In Summary:


Chefs, business owners, managers and supervisors need to be concerned with pest control in their food establishment. It is not a one-time treatment. Pests can damage your food establishments, not just through the structure but through your reputation too. This is something that should not be allowed to get out of hand. The presence of even one pest can create damage to the brand and equate to sales loss. 

And if you are looking for skilled chefs based in Perth and Western Australia for your chef staffing needs, give us a call at Anytime Chefs

We have a roster of professional chefs that are available as short-term hires for :

  • peak periods
  • events/private parties and celebrations/pizza chefs
  • fill in for an emergency or annual leaves
  • start-up team for opening venues  


Anytime Chefs can also assist you in looking for permanent chef hires by facilitating your recruitment process.

We also offer a Consulting Service to assist you in opening or running the cafe or restaurant of your dreams. 

As part of our team, we have polite, professional Kitchen Stewards to assist you in cleaning and organising your kitchens. 


That’s it for this week.

As always, professional chefs are on call at Anytime Chefs!

Ciao for now,


If you are interested in joining our team, read here for more info!

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