It’s officially summer.
While we, like everyone else, are fully embracing the sunny days and balmy evenings, so too are a range of pests, all primed and ready to create havoc within your establishment…if you let them.
Summer is a key trading period for all businesses within the hospitality sectors, with thirsty drinkers enjoy an al fresco tipple in pub beer gardens and diners filling tables in indoor and outdoor spaces at restaurants.
It’s great to see. But the rising temperatures can also lead to the arrival of some unwanted pests, which are irritating to guests and problematic for venue owners.
Why are there more bugs in summer?
Because bugs are cold-blooded, they’re more active and prolific during warmer temperatures. The summer also means an abundance of food and sunny days often bring them indoors to seek some shade.
In our latest blog we look at some of the biggest pest threats to hospitality venues this summer and what you can do to keep them at bay.
What summer pests are we dealing with?
Wasps & bees – We’ve all been there, wafting away wasps and bees from our plates and glasses and worried that we are their next target.
Wasps are more likely to sting than bees, but neither are pleasant while you’re trying to enjoy a drink or meal with family or friends.
Plus, there are people allergic to wasp venom and a sting from them can be lethal.
If you find that wasps are coming inside your venue, it may be indicative of a wasp nest nearby, so, if this is the case in your venue, you may wish to interrogate your surrounding area to find a potential source.
Ants – While not posing the same physical threat as a wasp or bee, these busy ant workers are always on the hunt for food and will frequently enter venues foraging for their next meal.
In particular, they love sweet substances, so imagine their joy when they land upon a fizzy drinks’ spillage!
While ants are not a risk to human health, they often present themselves in large numbers, which can be off-putting to potential guests and problematic if they enter a food preparation area.
It’s likely that an ant infestation will be coming from several nests, so don’t think that if you’ve destroyed one your problems are solved, look out for the next.
Cockroaches – They just LOVE the warmth, so summer temperatures mixed with hot kitchens and preparation rooms offer the perfect blend for them to thrive.
Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal creatures, so venue owners may be able to hide an infestation from innocent drinkers or diners, but at night, they pass the hours eating, mating and contaminating surfaces. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
The fact that they come out when no one is around means you are never completely certain where they’ve been and what food source has potentially been contaminated.
Flies – Annoying, aren’t they? And to top it off there are so many different variations. Below we look at two of the most common flies which might affect your premises this summer:
House flies – These are generally a half/third inch long and greyish in colour with four dark, blackish stripes behind the head – they land very regularly which is the opposite to their relation the Lesser House Fly which tend to hang around light fittings in the middle of a room and only land at night. Both are equally annoying!
Houseflies are drawn to damp, unsanitary areas. Bins outside restaurants, for example, are likely breeding grounds.
These flies feed on almost any man-made or naturally occurring waste, so every business that has waste is at risk.
Its life cycle requires two to three weeks from egg deposition to adult emergence during warmer periods. They live only two to three days without food but can survive up to 50 days where food is available.
Females deposit an average of 400 to 600 eggs each so they can develop large populations rapidly.
Consider this issue in a restaurant where managing food waste is a constant challenge, and you could well be looking at serious problems that could affect your hygiene standards, and, in worse cases, see you shut down.
Fruit flies – These can be a problem year round, but are especially common during late summer/autumn because they are attracted to ripened or fermenting fruits and vegetables, making them a real danger to restaurants and bars.
Items such as tomatoes, melons, grapes and other perishable items are often the cause of an indoor infestation but these flies are also attracted to rotting bananas, potatoes, onions and other unrefrigerated produce.
Such is their addiction to sweet, sticky products, fruit flies are very common anywhere where food is allowed to rot and ferment. The adult fruit fly is around 1/8 inch long and usually has red eyes. The front area of the body is tan and the rear area is black.
Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials. Upon emerging, the tiny larvae continue to feed near the surface of the fermenting mass.
Given the opportunity, they will lay about 500 eggs and the entire lifecycle from egg to adult can be completed in about a week. Again, it is something that can quickly get out of hand if the issue is not identified and tackled right away.
While both fruit and house flies are nuisance pests, the real danger is the potential they have to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms, which could lead to illness amongst your customers.
What can I do to stop these pests from ruining our summer trade?
There are a number of simple, yet effective ways in which you can prevent pests ruining your summer trade. Here’s our top tips:
- Make sure your bins are as far away from your building as possible. Make sure they have tight-fitting lids and are cleaned regularly.
- Ensure proper drainage to keep premises damp free.
- Get rid of waste and food as soon as possible and clean up food and drink spills immediately.
- In areas where food and drink are prepared or served, keep surfaces clean and tidy and make sure bottles of alcohol and containers storing food are sealed properly at the end of each shift. Fruit flies are particularly attracted to sweet drinks so it is good practice to clean beer mats daily and ensure ice wells, sinks and surfaces are thoroughly dried at the end of each day.
- Clean and store food contact equipment every day.
- Close doors windows and openings where you can.
- Use professional fly units and screens. There are a wide variety of professional fly units on the market to help you keep on top of flying insect pests in yourvenue. Your business should also install made to measure screens over windows and doors. These will ensure light and air can still flow through your buildings whilst keeping out unwanted visitors.
- Make sure your staff are educated about the potential threats to summer trade and how to minimise pest infestations. If everyone is vigilant, it can only help.
Speak to a pest controller about your summer pest issues
While there are a number of ways in which you can minimise pest disruption to your premises, we would always advise working with a pest control business if you wish to apply a controlled, long term strategy against pests. When seeking a pest control partner, find out:
Are they a member of a pest control body?
The most recognised body of for pest controllers in the UK is the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). The BPCA promotes the highest standards of professionalism within the industry, allowing only organisations that prove their competence to join as members.
Do they come recommended?
An online search will quickly give you some background about the pest control businesses you might be considering using. What do their reviews look like? Are there any red flags? Is their social media following good and are comments positive or negative? Is there someone you trust in the sector to provide a recommendation? The more research you can carry out, the better the picture you are building about your potential new partner.
What are their service agreements?
Are they open about their offer or does it feel like they are trying to avoid questions about what is included in the cost and what isn’t? Carefully read any contract terms provided to fully understand what pests and services are covered, as well as any guarantees that may be given. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have. An honest pest controller will be more than happy to provide the answers.
Contact us today to find out how our highly trained technicians can eradicate your summer pest problem.