The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life and business this year. Restaurants, in particular, have been severely affected by shutdowns, some of which have closed completely for months, while most have maintained partial operation by providing pick-up and delivery services. To German cockroaches, however, nothing has really changed, and they will continue to survive and thrive.
When a restaurant shuts down for weeks or months, it will stop introducing food into its environment, but that doesn’t mean cockroach populations will suffer. Even in those establishments that took advantage of the shutdown to perform deep cleaning and maintenance, there’s no guarantee that cockroach populations won’t return to pre-pandemic levels. That’s because enough residual food and moisture remains in these establishments to nourish a healthy cockroach population. Without human activity and if pest control services are suspended, cockroach infestations will grow and possibly spread to many areas of the restaurant.
START-UP STEPS. German cockroaches will remain true to their nature and will mostly be found near sources of moisture and food. Therefore, a pest professional’s approach when entering a restaurant that has been shut down should be similar to one used when performing an initial service on a new client restaurant. Sinks, stove lines, the dishwashing area, buffet/salad stations, coolers, and prep tables should all be checked for activity using a flashlight, inspection mirror and flushing aerosol. Having a vacuum handy is beneficial to remove cockroaches as they are discovered, thus providing immediate population reduction.
Once sites with activity have been identified through inspection, these harborages may be treated using a cockroach bait gel. Application directly into cracks where cockroaches are living provide the best results. Numerous smaller placements applied around areas with cockroach activity may be more effective than placing a few, larger gel placements.
The greater the number of cockroaches present, the more bait placements will be needed. If few cockroaches are found, bait should be applied into or near active harborages and also applied where future cockroaches are most likely to go if introduced — behind sinks and plumbing penetrations into walls, cracks around stoves and ovens, prep tables, etc.
Cockroaches are experts in “sheltering in place” so our job as pest professionals is to identify where they are living and apply the appropriate treatment to each active harborage site.
Stoy Hedges is a Board Certified Entomologist and president of Stoy Pest Consulting.