Hotel pests in summer

The South African hospitality industry historically experiences an increase in pests during summer as a higher volume of stock is received from suppliers for the busy tourism season. Furthermore, large numbers of employees move in and out of hotels, restaurants, bakeries and catering facilities, adding to the increase. 

To prevent an outbreak of pests such as the German and American cockroach, rats, mice, flies, bedbugs and stored product pests otherwise known as pantry pests, hospitality players must ensure that monthly inspections and treatments are conducted by registered pest control operators.

This is according to Eileen Slabber, Managing Director of Ecofirst Pest Prevention and Hygiene Services(Pty) Ltd, a division of Ecowize Group,a health and sanitation company servicing the food sector. Slabber argues it is important for hotels, restaurants, bakeries and catering facilities to be regularly treated for pests and not only every few months or when an outbreak occurs.   

  • Regular cleaning of kitchen and storeroom shelves. Ensure all equipment is moved for cleaning.
  • Ensure all old equipment is clean and regular inspections are conducted to inspect possible pest activity.
  •  “First in, first out” policy to be followed with food stock. Never mix old products with new products.
  • Holes and openings in wall areas should be sealed with cement, not foam or steel fillers, or steel as rats and mice can chew through this. Rats need only one centimetre to enter a facility and mice only need a centimetre and a half.
  • Packaging materials not in use must be disposed of, as this could be an ideal breeding area for pests. Some pests are capable of chewing through packaging, exposing the food product and attracting other pests such as rats, mice, beetles, weevils and mites. The pests can contaminate the food product and lead to high-risk infestations, which, if consumed, can create digestive problems.
  • Staff lockers and personal belongings are to be placed away from kitchen areas.
  • Ensure waste bins inside kitchens are cleaned in the outside as well as the inside. Do not only remove the black bag each time. Refuse removal to be done frequently.
  • Toilets must be supplied with lids and bathrooms must contain a self-closing door with a metal strip underneath to keep pests out.

(Press release from the Ecowize Group, February 2013)