The kitchen and janitorial staff work hard to make sure there is healthy food and a very clean environment. Without them, and their sanitation practices, our food processing facilities, commercial kitchens and schools would be quickly overrun by any number of pests. Just the sheer size of a typical school would give any number of insects and rodents a thousand places to hide and set up housekeeping.
There are a number of different pests that are a threat to a commercial kitchen and cafeteria. Cockroaches, rodents, and flies are all known to contribute to the spread of disease. These pests will all take up residence anywhere where they have a food and water source. A facility with as much food store as a school would be ideal. Ants could be another problem, though not being known for spreading disease, no one really wants them to find their way into the building.
In the quiet of a darkened kitchen, rodents and roaches will come out and run from one food source to another, munching happily on what they find. They run across clean dishes and pans, countertops and sinks. Eating from one bag and then another, picking up tidbits to take back to the nest, all the time these creatures are leaving behind feces and bacteria that can cause everything from asthma symptoms to E. Coli and Salmonella. The simple house fly that we tend to just shoo away can carry bacteria to and from all of the places it lands. Unknowingly, kitchen staff cooking with contaminated food or serving on contaminated dishes could spread illness to the students and faculty before they even knew that there was a pest problem in the building.
There are a few simple ways to help make sure that pests do not find a hospitable environment to hide in your facility’s kitchen.
- Keep kitchen equipment that is hard to move on rollers to make it easier to clean around them.
- Make sure that all of the hard to reach and see places are clean and crumb free.
- Clean floor drains and ventilation screens regularly.
- Replace cracked tiles on the walls and floors and seal gaps around any fixtures or pipes to eliminate entrance points.
- Store all food stuff in pest proof containers.
- Make sure that there is no standing water, leaking pipes or dripping faucets.
- Take out the trash on a regular basis in strong bags and keep the dumpster away from the doors and emptied regularly.
- Always watch for pest activity around food storage such as droppings, and chew marks.
The best defense is a good offense when you are dealing with common school pests. It is better to do everything possible to keep them from being attracted to areas where they can have their needs met such as any area with food, moisture, warmth and places to hide. Also, a regular inspection from a pest control technician can help keep your kitchen and facility pest free.