Cockroaches can cause serious problems for restaurants or eateries. Attracted to most food preparation areas, cockroaches can contaminate food, cooking implements, utensils, paper products and preparation surfaces.
These unpleasant pests are capable of carrying a number of diseases because of contact they may have had with feces or other unsanitary substances. Bacteria like salmonella and disease-causing organisms like staphylococcus are just two examples of what cockroaches carry and why having them in a restaurant kitchen can be unattractive and potentially cause food poisoning.
Commercial pest control can help restaurant owners and managers eliminate an infestation and help the facility prevent future incidents. But before pest management services can come to the rescue, you have to get to know the warning signs of a cockroach infestation.
What to look out for
There are four common species of cockroaches across North America. Restaurant owners and managers should be most on the lookout for German and brown-banded cockroaches, as they're the most prevalent indoor varieties - German is the most common overall.
Cockroaches are usually about 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length with flat winged backs, long antennas and a hard shell behind their heads. German cockroaches have two black stripes behind their heads and are bronze-colored. The membranous, mosquito-like wings are different than the hard ones of beetles, which cockroaches are frequently confused with.
The best warning sign of a cockroach is to see one, but it's difficult because they're nocturnal. Large infestations may be visible during the day in clusters. Cockroaches are usually near food or water, so kitchens, bathrooms and damp basements are the most popular spots.
Other than seeing a cockroach outright, look for shell casings. Not those from a firearm, but the shells of recently hatched cockroach eggs that are small, brown and oval. Feces are another warning sign and are small and brown, similar to ground pepper.
A surefire sign that your restaurant has a cockroach infestation is the smell. Larger groups of cockroaches emit a pungent, repulsive smell that'll alert you that something is wrong and it's a good time to call in a pest control service.
Prevent the problem in the first place
Cleanliness is paramount when it comes to preventing cockroaches from infesting your establishment. Make sure there isn't any accessible food or garbage. Eliminate old food, clutter and storage messes that can provide hiding areas. Plumbing leaks can also contribute to a cockroach-friendly environment and should be fixed.