What are the most common food business pests?

By April 13, 2021 No Comments
Is your food safe for your customers?


Ingredient 1: Business


What are the most common food business pests?


The presence of vermin and insects in or near your premises is bad for business.  Insects and vermin carry diseases. They can contaminate your food, make your customers sick, and will drive away customers.


Cockroaches live and hide in sewers and drains.  They like dark and moist areas – especially kitchens.  Bacteria are carried on their legs, body and in their saliva.  Bacteria are then transferred to equipment, utensils and eventually food, causing foodborne illness.


Flies lay their eggs in warm, moist places such as waste food and refuse.  In summer temperatures the egg can develop into a maggot, and then an adult fly in as little as ten days.

A fly eats by regurgitating liquid from its stomach onto the food.  The liquid dissolves the solid food and the fly then mops up the liquid with its mouth.  This liquid contains bacteria, which are transferred onto food and equipment.  The fly also carries bacteria on its feet, hair and faeces.

Rats and mice

Rats and mice can cause destruction of food crops, buildings and electrical cables, in addition to transmitting diseases.

Most of the damage they do is physical, such as gnawing.  Food can become contaminated by their droppings, urine and hair.  They carry bacteria from soil, waste food and refuse, on their fur and feet, transferring them to uncovered food and surface.

How do I control pests?

Pests need the same thing we do – shelter, warmth and food.  Take away these things and they will soon find somewhere more favourable to live.

  • Make it hard for pests to enter your premises by maintaining your building and structures so that there is nowhere for them to hide e.g. seal any holes in walls, and behind equipment.
  • Keep surfaces clean so there is nothing for them to eat.
  • Contact a licensed pest control operator to visit on a regular basis.

How do I prevent pests?

  • Contact a licensed pest control operator for an assessment of your premises.  The operator will recommend a program suited to your needs for controlling pests and recommend a maintenance schedule.  Ensure the operator provides you with documentation proving that pest treatment has been done.
  • Check deliveries for pests and droppings, and if any food is found to be contaminated, refuse the delivery and contact the supplier.
  • Regularly check the premises for pests by looking in cupboards where food is stored for signs such as droppings, packages with holes in the bottom, and cockroaches behind refrigerators and equipment.
  • Undertake a cleaning program.
  • Cover all food with secure lids.
  • Repair all holes in walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Place screens on doors and windows.
  • Remove waste regularly and store away from food operations.
  • Clean waste storage areas regularly and store away from food operations.


For a low investment:

  • User-friendly eGuide – How to Be Food Safe
  • Online Workshop: Restaurant & Cafe Entrepreneurs:  ‘Open for Business’ for Hospitality Owners (8 evenings Tues and Thursday or 4 Saturdays) 


  • Webinar: Restaurant & Cafe Entrepreneurs: Hospitality Business Startup (1 evening)
  • BLOG articles
  • Monthly ‘Recipe for Success’ Newsletter
  • FAQs

Restaurant & Cafe Pest Management

In order to keep your food outlet clean and the food you serve safe, it is necessary to put food safety and food hygiene management procedures in place.


4 Ingredients:

Business – keep within the law

Marketing – increase sales, make more profit

Operations – controls to save time and money

Ideas – keep your customers coming back



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