If there is one thing that pests, especially cockroaches, can’t stand, it is a clean commercial kitchen or apartment unit.
There is nothing more unappealing to these purveyors of filth and diseases such as E. coli and salmonella than maintenance staff and residents picking up food particles, wiping up spilled liquids and keeping food in sealed containers. It just ruins their day.
Implementing and consistently carrying out sanitation protocols is the most important element of an effective cockroach management program. It is ultimately the responsibility of the facility or property manager to ensure these tasks are completed but pest management professionals can play a vital role as well.
At Atlanta-based Team Pest USA Terrence Spires, vice president, and Tony Rogers, commercial services manager, empower their technicians and, in turn, their clients through the use of detailed sanitation service reports.
“Sanitation service reports are a must for our commercial clients since they help identify where problems exist and if they are being corrected in a timely fashion which is important an element in third-party audits,” says Spires. “It also establishes that the client has skin the game.”
Team Pest USA’s Rogers says the reports, which are punctuated with photos, are regularly reviewed with clients and that a partnership is needed to get the job done. “We need their cooperation to be successful,” says Rogers. “It is a help me, help you situation.”
KEY HOT SPOTS. While Team Pest USA targets unsanitary conditions for corrective action, it also targets on the source of the infestation in commercial accounts – mainly floor and sink drains where food waste collects and cockroaches breed and feed.
Using Rockwell Labs’ InVade Technology BioFoam product to deliver the bio-remediation product to hard-to-reach areas including counters and equipment, floor cracks and crevices, beverage line bundles and fountain drip trays, voids around dishwashers, baseboards and backsplashes, and deep into floor and sink drains, Rogers’ technicians can eliminate cockroach attracting scum build-up.
“It allows us to reach areas human hands cannot and break down the sugary and yeast build-up that cockroaches feed on,” says Rogers. “No drain is too big or too small, and it has given us a selling advantage with clients.”
In residential accounts Team Pest USA uses both BioFoam and Rockwell Labs’ HotSpot to target build up in kitchen, bathroom and shower drains, and garbage disposals where issues with cockroaches, gnats and fruit flies can occur.
“When drains or the garbage disposal start to smell residents want the issue resolved and we can do that and prevent pest issues from developing,” adds Rogers.
Sanitation & Exclusion Tips
Cockroaches thrive where food and water are readily available. Even the tiniest amounts of food waste or liquids caught in a crack or crevice can provide a food source for cockroaches. Pest management professionals can recommend the following sanitation measures to both its commercial and residential clients to limit access to these valuable resources by cockroaches:
- Store food and ingredients in insect-proof containers such as glass jars or resealable plastic containers.
- Keep garbage and trash in containers with tight-fitting lids and use liners. Keep dumpsters away from doorways. Remove trash, cardboard boxes, shipping pallets and containers, and other items that provide hiding places and harborage for cockroaches.
- Eliminate plumbing leaks and correct other sources of moisture. Increase ventilation where condensation is a problem.
- Vacuum cracks and crevices to remove food and debris. Be sure surfaces where food or beverages have been spilled are cleaned up immediately. Vacuuming removes cockroaches, shed skins and egg capsules, as well as reduces their numbers and slows development.
In addition to closely following sanitation protocols to reduce the cockroach threat, homeowners, and commercial clients, along with their pest management providers, can take steps to exclude cockroaches from gaining access in the first place. Recommended cockroach exclusion practices include:
- Seal cracks and other openings to the outside.
- Use weather stripping on doors and windows.
- Look for other methods of entry, such as from items being brought into the building, especially appliances, furniture and items that were recently in storage.
- Inspect food deliveries before putting them in kitchens.
- Trim shrubbery around buildings to increase light and air circulation, especially near vents, and eliminate ivy or other dense ground covers near the house, as these may harbor cockroaches.
- Consider keeping a layer of gravel about 6 to 12 inches wide around the perimeter of buildings.