How to… manage pest control

10 August 2012
How to… manage pest control

With the prospect of a hot, tourist-filled summer ahead for British businesses, savvy restaurant owners will no doubt be making all the necessary preparations. But alongside an inevitable demand for ice cream and an influx of sun-loving customers demanding more outside seating, your pest control measures are also worth examining.

Every year, the sunshine brings with it an array of flying insects that most of us take in our stride. However, recent research by Rentokil has highlighted the fact that restaurants and bar owners need to take their measures against these pests more seriously. House flies are a common cause of food poisoning, particularly through salmonella infection, and one of the reasons that they continue to cause problems in the hospitality sector is because caterers underestimate the damage that they can do.

Alongside the implications for what goes into customer's stomachs, it's worth bearing in mind that you should also ensure a more pleasant dining experience for your customers by lowering the risk of unwanted attention from wasps. Winged nuisances have plagued caterers and picnickers since thirsty families first enjoyed drinks in the sunshine - but there are a few precautions you can take to make sure that they don't end up ruining your summer.

Below are some simple tips from Rentokil on controlling flies both inside the kitchen and out.

how to control flying insects

1Line up a good defence - Your first line of defence is important for keeping flies at bay, so ensure that you keep kitchen doors closed at all times, and have enough fly eradication measures in place to cope with increased summer populations.

Fly screens are a must in order to prevent insects from entering in the first place - and fly control inside is equally as important for the determined few who might find their way in.

Opt for a fly control unit that encapsulates the flies it captures, rather than merely zapping them. Units that electrocute flying insects release micro-particles into the air, and then onto food, that pose just as high a risk of contamination as if the insects themselves had landed there.

2 Serve desserts inside - Flies and wasps are notorious for their love of the sweet and sickly, and prefer these foods above anything else. To keep your outdoor areas insect-free, consider serving sandwiches and drinks outdoors, with an indoor area for desserts and meals with multiple courses.

3 Decorate to attract the right kinds of visitors - Outdoor decoration should attract a healthy clientele, and deter customer-repelling insects. Keep brightly coloured bunting and furniture to a minimum and let your food do the talking instead, as wasps and bees in particular will be attracted to environments with vivid colouring and strong fragrances.

4 Move inside for the evening - Make sure that your customers, rather than hungry flying insects, are the ones benefiting from a full menu at your restaurant or pub, by moving service inside just before sundown. Nibbling insects like mosquitoes are much more active at this time, so pre-empt their moves and prepare a cool and inviting space for your clientele to enjoy inside once the evening descends, along with its hungry companions.

5Prepare for the eventual sting - The law of averages says that at some point, one of your customers is going to incur a sting either in or near to your restaurant. It goes without saying that a first aider and a basic first aid kit should be at hand - but so long as the unfortunate recipient of a sting has no known allergic reactions, the best course of action is to clean the wound with antibacterial wipes and apply ice until the swelling subsides.

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