3 Food Service Strategies for Winter Rodent Control

Rodents in a restaurant may be a charming idea for a movie, but they're a nightmare in real life. If your restaurant or food service facility is prone to winter rodent infestations, the time is right to do battle against the chewing, disease-ridden pests. Here are three strategies to help you combat the dreaded winter invaders.

1. Get Serious About Your Barriers

Whether you own or lease your food-service establishment, get proactive and search out every nook, cranny, crack, or gap where a rat or mouse could enter your commercial spaces. Know that rats can enter any space over 1/2 inch in width, while mice can scurry through spaces only 1/4 inch in width.

This means rodents can sneak through:

  • Gaps under doors

  • Cracks in window frames

  • Pipes and toilets

  • Cracks in crawlspaces or foundations

  • Utility openings

  • Holes in subfloors

  • Drainpipes and drains

Rats can drop 50 feet without hurting themselves seriously. They can also climb vertical pipes and jump up to three feet vertically and four feet horizontally. Your roof is not safe from rats who jump from adjacent buildings or climb up building seams and conduit.

If you're unable to inspect the roof or the rest of your building for rodent-vulnerable places, hire a pest control company to inspect your property for you. Seal up all openings to reduce your restaurant's attractiveness.

2. Make Life Hard for Rodents

Mice want warm shelter and a place to raise their young near food and water sources. Rats may live outside of your food-service facility but pop in every night to drink and dine.

A facility attracts mice and rats when:

  • No one takes care of leaks and puddles.

  • Staff leave standing water overnight.

  • No one protects plastic pipes.

  • Staff don't sweep and mop after service.

  • Staff don't take out trash overnight.

Crumbs and food scraps can attract mice and rats when left on countertops, meat cutters, and other kitchen equipment. Enforce strict rules about cleaning all dirty kitchen tools before closing for the shift or night. When no smelly food tidbits to eat exist, rodents aren't drawn to your commercial kitchen.

Make life more difficult for any rodents who do invade by using galvanized steel or glass containers to store dry goods. Rats can exert 3 1/2 tons of pressure per square inch when they bite, so plastic totes are not enough to keep your flour and other staples safe from rodent infestation.

Use galvanized metal mesh around drainpipes and over drainpipe ends. Use metal flashing around vulnerable windows and vents to protect wood framing. Store trash in covered, galvanized waste bins.

3. Be Bold in Non-Kitchen Areas

Your kitchen may be sparkling clean, but this won't matter if your retail, office, and dining areas are cluttered and loaded with crumbs and food trash. Make sure to follow sanitary practices throughout your facility, and clean all spaces daily.

Vacuum, mop, and sweep floors, under tables, and all carpeting daily and deep clean these areas periodically to remove odors and food residue. Wipe down trash cans, desktops, counters, and other furnishings to remove odors from time to time. Staff should only eat in designated areas.

Hire a pest control company you trust to help you fight off rodents this winter. Remember, you don't want a customer to report a mouse under their table. If you have solid pest management, this is easier and cheaper than to deal with the fallout from a mouse in your restaurant.

For a full inspection of your restaurant in South or North Dakota, Minnesota, or Iowa, contact Godfather's Exterminating, Inc., today. We provide effective pest control for rodents and other seasonal invaders in commercial food service facilities.

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