Mosquitoes flying around

How to Get Rid Of Cockroaches in a Restaurant

February 18, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Restaurants often struggle to control pest populations. With daily deliveries, food scraps, and the dreaded “dish pit,” there are a lot of areas for pests—cockroaches, in particular—to hide. Not only are cockroaches a tough pest to manage once they’re established, they can also spread disease and potentially shut down your restaurant. This makes it even more important to take the right steps to manage cockroaches in your restaurant. 

Can a restaurant get shut down for cockroaches?

Cockroaches threaten contamination and disease transmission in a restaurant, and even a single sighting can cause your local health authority to close your location. This can be a temporary closure until the issue is under control or a long-term consequence for severe cases.  

Signs of a cockroach infestation 

Knowing the signs of infestation is essential so you can take action as soon as you suspect there are pests in your midst.

Here are a few common cockroach signs you and your staff can keep an eye out for:

  • Excrement — Small, black specks on the floor, walls, or countertops can be cockroach excrement. These often resemble pepper flakes or coffee grounds. 
  • Egg casings — When cockroaches breed, they leave behind small egg casings. Check areas that are prone to dampness, like drains, under appliances, and food storage areas.
  • Odor — Cockroaches have a distinct odor that can clue you into their presence. You may have an infestation if you notice a musty smell in your restaurant. 
  • Cockroaches — Cockroaches breed quickly, and If you see one in your business, chances are that it’s not alone. 

cockroaches laying eggs on the floor

How do restaurants keep cockroaches away?

The best two ways to deter cockroaches from your restaurant is to keep your restaurant impeccably clean and to hire a pest control company like Hawx to apply preventive treatments around your restaurant. 

When it comes to cleaning thoroughly, add these spots to your staff’s cleaning tasks. When Hawx makes a visit, our service technicians will also check these pest-friendly areas for any signs of infestation: 

  1. Behind and under refrigeration units and shelving – Dark and protected, these areas are cockroach havens if they’re not routinely cleaned.
  2. Cupboards under the sink – Near water sources and dark, the cupboards under kitchen, bathroom, and bar sinks must be scrubbed and sanitized regularly. 
  3. Underneath computer terminals – Forgotten spills and crumbs can lurk under point-of-service terminals, providing sustenance and a dark hiding spot for cockroaches. 
  4. Drains – Food scraps and scum, combined with darkness and plenty of water, make drains a prime spot for cockroaches. Clean these areas with scrub brushes and cleaning solutions, ideally using the drain cleaning products available at most restaurant suppliers (don’t forget to wear gloves, eye protection, and respiratory protection for this potentially nasty job).
  5. Dry food storage areas – Dry food storage areas offer cockroaches plenty of hidden spots to set up camp, and they’re known to consume the cellulose glue in cardboard boxes, too. If your restaurant is keeping old boxes for storage, rotate old ones for new ones or use plastic tubs for storage. Watch your boxes and clean these areas frequently to prevent cockroaches from moving in.
  6. Outdoor garbage enclosures – Garbage areas are a buffet for cockroaches if they’re not kept clean and garbage bags kept closed. 

Most cockroaches prefer dark, warm, and humid areas — and while they like to stay hidden, they often need to come out and feed. It’s crucial to clean up food waste, garbage, and spills, particularly overnight, when the restaurant is quiet, and the lights are off. 

Pest control solutions for restaurants

If your preventative efforts aren’t working out and you find yourself dealing with a cockroach infestation in your restaurant, it’s time to call the pros. Cockroaches breed quickly, and the repercussions of having disease-spreading vermin in your food-service business are potentially severe. 

Hawx Pest Control offers high-quality treatment services using state-of-the-art tools and products. Our technicians have restaurant pest management expertise and handle both big and small pest control jobs. From addressing current issues to setting up treatment plans to keep your business safe from pests year-round, your local Hawx team is ready and waiting to help. 

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