Generally, you want your kitchen to be a welcoming place. But there’s one thing that should never be welcome—pests, including cockroaches. Roaches can carry nasty bacteria like staph and salmonella. You don’t want them anywhere near your food!
Because cockroaches are so small, infestations can be difficult to spot. Keep an eye out for any possible entry points, like cracks in walls, open or unsealed windows, vents, or doors. Also watch for these four signs:
1. Pepper-like droppings
Cockroaches leave behind tiny dark flecks that look like grains of black pepper. If you notice what appears to be a spill of black pepper on the floor of your establishment, keep an eye out for other signs of cockroaches.
2. Strong, oily odor
Cockroach bodies secrete an oil that allows them to squeeze into tight spaces. It also leads other cockroaches to sources of food. If you smell oil in an unusual area, that could be another cue to look for other signs of roaches.
3. Egg casings
Cockroach egg casings look like small shells. They’re usually black, brown, or dark red. As the name suggests, an egg casing encloses a cluster of cockroach eggs. The casing protects the eggs until they’re ready to hatch.
4. Cockroach sighting
Of course, the ultimate sign that you have cockroaches is actually seeing one. Cockroaches like to hide in dark, narrow spaces. If you do have cockroaches, you’ll most likely see them in cracks in walls and under cabinets, ovens, or other appliances. They may even hide in wet mops if the mops are stored on the floor.
If you see egg casings or cockroaches in your establishment, you have a problem.
What to do if you have cockroaches
If you think your establishment might have cockroaches, tell your manager right away. If you are the manager, contact a pest control operator as soon as possible. Show them the evidence; they can help you determine how serious the problem is and how to fix it.
The most important thing is not to wait for two or three signs—or two or three roach sightings—before involving a pest control operator. If you do have an infestation, the pest control operator will work with you to take care of it safely.
What attracts cockroaches?
Cockroaches, like other pests, go into buildings to look for food. One of the best things you can do to prevent roaches is keep your establishment clean. Take out the trash regularly and keep outdoor dumpster areas clean. Also, follow a cleaning schedule to make sure food-contact surfaces, equipment, and food storage areas stay clean and sanitized.
You can also help prevent roaches by storing food at least 6 inches above the ground and away from the walls. Keep wet mops up off the ground to keep cockroaches from trying to hide in them.
Finally, seal as many potential entry points as you can. This could mean filling in cracks or gaps in walls or around pipes, installing screens on windows and vents, and keeping doors closed as much as possible.
— Jessica Pettit
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