As a tourist city, Toronto’s main streets are flush with restaurants, takeaways – all kinds of places ripe for visitors’ pickings. As with any place that handles food and drink, it’s important to keep hygiene up to scratch and one of the most important things to consider is cockroaches – nasty little pests that can spread disease and contaminate your stock. News of cockroaches in your premises is also a reputation-ruiner, so it’s best to take control whenever you see a hint of these bugs so as to avoid an outbreak.
Aside from the obvious complaints, you’ll be subject to low hygiene ratings if inspections find even a few cockroaches, which can lead to fines and even being shut down if the infestation is severe! Obviously nobody wants this, so here are a few tips for keeping them out of your hair and certainly out of your business.
Like many creepy-crawly pests, cockroaches aren’t a fan of the colder environment you’ll find in the Toronto wintertime, so this is when you need to be on guard and look for them migrating into your buildings. You’ll find them in warmer, more humid environments such as pipes, boilers etc. – but they also love the warmth that stoves and other cooking appliances give off, so they’ll often make a beeline straight for your kitchen! This can lead to them getting into your food storage, which is something you definitely don’t want – cockroaches are carriers of disease and can cause food poisoning in your customers which can be terrible for business.
Now, you might be thinking it’s easy to spot a cockroach problem, but alas these critters are nocturnal so it’s unlikely you’ll see them during the daytime. That’s not as much of a problem for takeaways and restaurants that are open late, but there are a few signs to look out for in case you’re not in one of those categories:
- Any damage to food or packaging – especially look out for holes in the bottom of containers and the sides of boxes, as cockroaches can chew their way through some materials.
- Shed skins – they won’t be in the shape of a cockroach, more of a collection of brown flakes.
- Egg cases – these can look sort of like peanut skins or parts of tiny round balls. These especially are a sign that you’ve got a bad infestation because it means they are breeding and growing in numbers.
Now, several of these aren’t exclusive to cockroaches, in fact beetles and some of the bigger types of ants will leave similar signs, but what you can do to prevent pests getting into your business usually covers a broad selection of bugs. Here’s some general advice below.
- Tidy, tidy, tidy
The main reason cockroaches get into places, both commercial and residential, is because they sense food. Now, it’s obviously not going to be feasible to keep food out of a food business, but there’s definitely some things you can do to control insects getting in it.
Clean your surfaces, including the floors, any windowsills, and stairs – this stops them from following them inside like a trail of breadcrumbs. If you have dirty dishes, make sure that they’re cleaned as soon as possible, and try to store them away from the sinks in case there are any pests in the pipes.
- Clean and clear
Some places where you might not expect to have problems are the very tops of refrigerators, cookers and other appliances that have high surfaces. Remember that in a kitchen it can get very humid, and cooking oil and other things inside it can collect on the tops of these, giving an ideal environment for bugs to gather. Clean the top of your appliances regularly, as well as underneath them. And don’t forget about the bins; clean them regularly on top, beneath, and nearby. While bins themselves might seem self-contained, it’s easy for anything that gets in to crawl out if given enough time to do so, so empty your bins frequently and always check the bottom for any food waste that might have fallen down – don’t want it staying there and attracting pests.
- Seal and repair
Any gaps in your windows and doors, where power lines and pipes enter – these are all places that can be hotspots for attracting cockroaches and other creepy crawlies to enter and cause havoc. Seal them professionally, and you’ll remove this problem.
Any water leaks can damage your walls/foundations and allow entry, so be sure to check for signs of water damage on a regular basis and repair them straight away.
Stopping cockroaches getting in is part of the pest control problem but getting rid of them is another story. These insects are hard-wired to survive and can be difficult to get rid of. The best way to exterminate cockroaches is to call professional pest control services, but there are a few things you can do yourself to stem the problem in the meantime.
Insecticides should be strong enough to kill eggs and newly hatched cockroaches, but you need to pay attention to where they might be – if you can’t find them, you can’t get rid of them. Be sure to put the insecticide into any cracks or gaps where the roaches might favor or frequent. However, most insecticides are harmful to humans, so this should NOT be used within the kitchen itself while it is in use, just the surrounding areas.
Cockroaches love to take food back to their nests for the newly-hatched, so baiting them with bits of sugar or flour laced with borax or a similar poison can help. As with the insecticides, it should be done out of hours with care being taken to keep it away from any surfaces where you would prepare food – borax is toxic to humans too!
Of course, the best way to get rid of cockroaches is by calling our professional extermination service. Our pest control team is highly effective at dealing with all kinds of commercial and residential pets. We will scope out any locations in your premises that might cause future problems, and quickly remove your crawling concerns – with maximum safety, and minimal threat to health and location.
Contact Provincial Pest Control for a free pest control inspection in the Toronto Area!