Mosquitoes flying around

Rodent Infestations: How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice in a Restaurant

February 20, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Rats and mice enter restaurants because they provide all a rodent needs: food, water, and shelter from weather conditions year-round. Rodents can carry diseases and contaminate food, preparation areas, and dining stations. This contamination could not only make employees and patrons sick, it can damage a restaurant’s reputation in the process.   Mice and rats enter restaurants through doorways, garages, siding, or rooflines and can squeeze through tiny cracks and holes in walls or pipes.

Why are rats and mice so dangerous in your restaurant? 

One of the biggest concerns of restaurant managers is the prevention of rodents because rats and mice in a restaurant can directly or indirectly spread the diseases rodents carry. 

Here are a few diseases rodents carry that can spread to diners and staff:  

  • Hantavirus – This virus, which causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), is transmitted primarily by the inhalation of dust particles contaminated with urine and/or feces from infected mice.
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis: The common house mouse can carry this infectious viral disease. It can cause neurological issues and is particularly dangerous if contracted during pregnancy.
  • Salmonella: This bacteria causes a diarrheal illness. It can transmit to humans who eat or drink food and water contaminated with rat feces.

rat sniffing a dirty plate on a counter

What happens if there’s a rat in a restaurant?

Spotting a rodent in your restaurant is a dangerous sign because where there is one rodent, there are usually many more nesting and breeding in or around the building. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more time these critters have to breed — which can create huge pest problems that can damage your reputation and potentially close it down.

How do rats get in restaurants?

Rats and mice can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks, gaps, and holes in a building’s foundation, door, and window frames, through the roof’s eaves, and through small openings in pipes. Rats also enter restaurants through drains and sewers.They can even simply come in through the front or back doors if these entries are left open long enough and are situated near trash cans or dumpsters.

Can a restaurant get shut down for a rat or mouse?

Local, county or state public health departments inspect restaurants regularly to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, among other things. A significant task for health inspectors is looking for signs of rodent and insect pests that can signal food contamination and public health hazards. Inspectors will look for the proper disposal of trash; signs of rodents like droppings, nests, or urine; and points of entry in pipes and walls that are big enough for rodents to squeeze through.

Health inspectors can close restaurants if the pest issue poses a significant safety hazard, in which case you’ll need to remedy the pest problem before you can reopen.

How do restaurants deal with a rat infestation?

Call Hawx Pest Control as soon as you suspect rats and mice may be in your restaurant, especially if you don’t already have preventive measures already in place to deter these pests. 

mouse eating flour in a pantry

How do I keep rats and mice away from my restaurant?

Here are a few ways to keep rodents away from your restaurant: 

Keep your restaurant as clean and sanitary as possible, and remove food scraps from counters and floors. If rodents don’t have easy access to food, they may go elsewhere to feed and breed.

Repair cracks and holes in walls or the roof, and install doorways with door sweeps to prevent rodents from squeezing under them. Repair torn window screens and fix any leaks.

Pest control solutions

At Hawx Pest Control, we’re experts in protecting restaurants from rodents and other pests. Each client is assigned a dedicated manager who customizes our services to your restaurant. 

Our services begin with thoroughly inspecting the space for rodent nesting areas or signs of infestation. If our professional technicians identify problem spots, they advise you on how to proceed to get rid of rodents and set up the barriers to protect your business from new rodent invasions. Using the most up-to-date tools and technologies, Hawx addresses current infestations and works to prevent future issues from taking hold. If infestations come back between treatments, so will we — free of charge.  

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