If you run a hotel or restaurant, you’ll know how important it is to maintain a good reputation. And nothing can damage your business more quickly than negative publicity about food hygiene standards in your premises. Bad news spreads quickly; if a customer sees signs of bed bugs in their hotel room, it’ll be all over social media in a matter of hours.
You might think that pests are nothing more than an occasional nuisance in the hotel sector. However, they can have serious consequences for your business:
- Bad reviews
- Reduced revenue
- Loss of business
- Stock replacement costs
- Possible fines and legal costs
This is why it’s essential to have an effective pest control plan in place. Your MAP to a pest-free business involves three practices:
- Maintenance: Maintaining high standards at all time and providing refresher training to staff as necessary
- Adherence: Putting robust hygiene and cleanliness policies in place
- Prevention: Making sure pests don’t establish a presence
An effective pest control plan does involve cost and effort. However, think of it as an investment that will protect your business and ultimately save you money.
If you want to win the battle, you need to know your enemy. How well do you know your pests?
Which pests target hotels and restaurants?
Rats and mice
Rats and mice are a serious problem in any hotels and restaurants. Most people have a primal aversion to these rodents. No one wants to share a bedroom with a mouse, no matter how stylish the bed clothes are. Also, the sight of a well-fed rat is likely to raise food hygiene concerns in your customers’ minds! Also, consider these additional problems that rodents bring:
- Damage to stock and premises, through gnawing, eating and contaminating
- Spread of disease, including Lyme disease and Salmonellosis
- Introduction of parasites, such as lice, fleas and ticks
How will you know whether you have a rodent problem? Watch out for these signs:
- Sightings of live or dead rats and mice
- Droppings and urine stains
- Noises such as gnawing, scurrying or squeaking
- Damage to paper, wood or wiring
- Tracks in dusty areas
Preventing rats and mice
Because rats and mice multiply rapidly, you need to deal with the infestation immediately! Of course, prevention is the best course of action, so make sure that rodents don’t have access to food or shelter in your premises. Seal up any gaps that they could enter through. Remember that mice can squeeze through tiny gaps! Pay particular attention to doors, windows and drains.
If you haven’t managed to prevent the rodents, you need to eliminate them. And quickly! You can use either traps or poison to do this. Make sure you follow local health and safety guidelines when eliminating rodents. Keep records of where the poison and traps have been laid, and monitor all sightings. Also ensure that staff are fully trained in rodent prevention procedures.
When customers see flies in a restaurant, they are likely to have concerns about the cleanliness of the premises. In addition, flies can transmit numerous diseases, including E. coli, Cryptosporidium and Salmonella. After all, flies spend a lot of time around dead animals, drains and rotting food.
- Kitchens: Keep all surfaces clean and free from grease and food deposits. Pay particular attention to corners and cracks, where tiny particles of food can accumulate.
- Storerooms: Store all food in hygienic containers, and keep all storage areas clean. Make sure there is no rotten food that might attract flies.
- Waste areas: Rubbish attracts flies, so ensure you don’t let waste accumulate. Store it in closed containers, and keep the surrounding areas clean.
- Drains: Keep drains clean and clear. Make sure no food deposits accumulate around the drains.
- Entrances: Use screens and barriers to prevent flies from gaining access to your property. Keep doors and windows shut.
You can use Electric Fly Killers to kill flies. These have the advantage of being hygienic and safe. You may also use insecticides, but be extremely careful when using these, especially near food preparation areas. They should be used only by properly trained staff.
Learn more about Rentokil New Fly Box to help prevent a fly infestation
Bed bugs are hard to see, but they can make their presence felt! Many guests complain about bed bugs in hotels, but ironically it is often the guests themselves who bring in the bed bugs via their luggage.
How do you know if you have bed bugs?
You need to be on the alert for bed bugs and take any signs seriously:
- Complaints: If guests complain about bed bugs, check the beds and indeed the whole room for signs for the insects.
- Bites: The most obvious sign of bed bugs is bite marks. They’re often found on exposed skin, such as the legs, arms, hands, neck or face.
- Blood: You might see rust spots on bed clothes, caused by sleeping guests squashing bed bugs.
- Skin: Young bed bugs shed their skins. If you find shed skin, you can be sure there are live bed bugs nearby!
- Droppings: Bed bugs leave small dark stains on mattresses.
- Smells: If there is a large infestation, you may detect a sweet smell in the room.
- Bed bugs: Although they are tiny (5mm), bed bugs are visible to the naked eye.
Finding bed bugs
Bed bugs hide in tiny spaces, but thorough systematic searches can help to root them out. Be sure to check the following areas:
- Cracks and crevices in walls
- Skirting boards
- Bed clothes and mattresses, especially the seams
- Carpets and underlay
- Picture frames
Once you’ve discovered a bed bug infestation, you need to eliminate it!
- Heat: Heat can be used to kill bed bugs. Use hair dryers or a professional service to heat infected parts of the room, or preferably the whole room.
- Vacuum: When using vacuum cleaners to suck up bed bugs and their residue, make sure you handle the vacuum bag carefully. Otherwise, the bugs might escape.
- Pesticides: When using pesticides, consider getting help from a professional service. Otherwise, you may accidentally poison your guests!
- Exclusion: When you find the site of the infestation, you need to seal it off to prevent the bugs from spreading. Seal any crevices where they are hiding. Cover mattresses and remove any infected items.
Learn more about Bed Bug Monitor to prevent a bed bug infestation in your hotels
Stored product insects
Stored product insects (SPIs) are insects that are specifically attracted to dry food and processed produces. Beetles, moths, mites and weevils are among the different types of SPIs. The most at-risk foods include flour, beans, grains, nuts, pasta and dried fruit and vegetables.
How do you know if you have SPIs?
Watch out for the following signs:
- Live or dead SPIs near food or containers
- Evidences of nuts and grain being eaten
- SPI larvae or pupae
- SPI webbing
You can carry out some basic steps to prevent an SPI infestation:
- When food arrives, check it for signs for infestation
- Store the food safely and hygienically (in, for example, sealed containers)
- Ensure stock rotation, so that older stock is used up first
- Remove all food spills and residues
- Thoroughly clean all food storage areas
- Be vigilant: Regularly inspect food storage areas to ensure standards are being maintained
Cockroaches will always cause alarm in restaurants and kitchens because people associate them with poor food hygiene practices. The ones most likely to bother the hotel sector are German cockroaches (12–15mm; reddish brown), American cockroaches (35-40mm; reddish brown) and Oriental cockroaches (20–25mm; dark brown or black).
They can cause you a number of serious problems:
- They carry and spread a number of germs, bacteria and diseases
- They can contaminate food and surfaces with their shed skin, droppings or saliva
- They may cause allergic reactions to some people (especially asthma sufferers)
As with dealing with most pests, cleanliness is key to preventing cockroaches. Make sure there is no discarded food or liquids for them to feast on. Remember that cockroaches can chew through paper packaging, so store food in plastic or metal containers.
You can also use pesticides to prevent or eliminate cockroaches. However, you must follow food safety regulations when using pesticides near food. Ensure all staff are trained in pesticide handling procedures.
You need to be vigilant if you want to keep your hotel free from pests. Remember these handy TIPS:
- Train all staff in pest-control procedures
- Implement prevention and elimination methods as necessary
- Prevent pests by adhering to excellent standards
- Stay on top of the issue by regularly inspecting to ensure that standards are being maintained
If you’re put off by the cost and effort involved, remember the return on investment: a pest-free hotel that attracts customers, enhances your reputation and increases your revenue!
You can carry out many of these steps yourself in order to protect your hotel. However, there are times when you need to call in the professionals! Contact Rentokil for information on our customised pest control services.