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Encroachment Part I: Have the pests become a problem?

Question:

I was recently in a coffee shop when a cockroach crossed my laptop. The manager came over and offered to buy me a free coffee, but basically apologized by saying, “Hey, it’s New York. Every restaurant has roaches.” Is that true?

– 

Answer:

You raise two important issues in your question:

  1. How widespread are cockroach infestations and how can restaurants minimize them?
  2. How should you handle a situation when a guest sees a cockroach or other pest in your establishment?

Since these are big questions, let’s look at Part I this week.

It is probably true that every restaurant has, at one time or another, had a cockroach on premise. Or even a few. What happened to you could have potentially happened at any number of restaurants at any number of levels, from coffee shop to fine dining. However, prevalence of a problem does not make it acceptable. Moreover, the possibility that a cockroach would visit you in the dining room at daylight is greatly enhanced if you are in a restaurant with a major infestation rather than an odd visitor that hitches a ride on the delivery truck.

Evidence of cockroach infestation is one of the most common restaurant violations, cited in ten percent of inspections in some municipalities.

I recently attended a seminar by Dr. Robert Corrigan, a pest control expert with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He indicated key areas to consider in controlling cockroach populations in a restaurant:

  • Manage clutter.
  • Perform detail cleaning.
  • Seal cracks and crevices.
  • Don’t rely solely on baits.
  • Don’t rush application of baits.
  • Avoid accepting cockroaches in food deliveries due to improper receiving.

While cockroaches do not have immunity to bait, it is especially important, Corrigan emphasized, for your exterminator to spend time really analyzing the patterns of infestation and to apply the bait systematically. Following the visit, meet with your exterminator to discuss what he or she found and any problem areas that you can correct.

Next week we’ll look at the second part of your question.

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