By Michael Swoyer, M.S.A.
Integrated Pest Management
in Foodservice Establishments
The consequences of lax pest management can be devastating
Foodservice establishments typically dread the thought of pests, as well they should. Not only can pests give you low scores on inspections, they also can cost you money on contaminated foods that must be thrown away—and drive customers
right out the door. It is easy to see why pest management
is a part of almost any foodservice establishment maintenance, but is it the right kind of pest management? It
is becoming increasingly clear that the most effective,
healthiest and, in the long run, cheapest method of controlling pests is integrated pest management (IPM).
IPM is the use of integrated techniques, such as exclusion, sanitation and baiting, to control pests, which are
any creatures you don’t want inside your food establishment (rats, mice, cockroaches, flies, etc.), utilizing
management tools, such as reports on pest location, pest type,
needed repairs and processes that get action when action
is needed. It utilizes the least toxic methods that will get
the job done. (There is no sense in poisoning ourselves
when we’re trying to poison something else, is there?) It is
knowing your pest so that you can use its own habits and
behaviors against it.
Eliminating Vacancies at the Roach Motel
Foodservice establishments attract pests. Food, water
and shelter, the three things any pest needs to survive,
are all present. Traditionally, cockroaches, for example,
are treated monthly by a “crack and crevice” type of ap-
plication. This is where the exterminator
sprays any suspicious-looking areas with
a pesticide to kill the cockroaches. Since
cockroaches like to hide in narrow areas
that touch their bodies both above and
below, special attention is paid to cracks
in the wall, gaps between shelving, etc.
The two species of cockroaches that nor-
mally infest foodservice establishments,
the German and the brown-banded, are
both colonizers. Once they find a place
to their liking, they have no reason to
leave until you give them one. Other
types of roaches, such as the Oriental
and the American, are invaders, choosing
to come inside only when conditions
outside are unfavorable.