David Cross, head of technical training academy at Rentokil Pest Control, helps fish and chip shop owners spot and prevent rodent infestations
Spotting a rodent in a food establishment could be enough to put off a customer for life. If they decide to share their experience with others, the reputational damage can cause a significant loss of revenue. In addition to this, health and safety fines can hit restaurant and shop owners hard; a Brighton fish and chip shop was recently fined more than £8,000 for rodent related violations.
It’s no surprise that rodents may look to make their home in a fish and chip shop. The heat from cooking equipment and the abundance of food provide the ideal conditions for an infestation to develop. It is critically important that owners and staff know how to spot the signs of rodent activity, and the steps that can be taken to prevent one from forming.
There are several tell-tale signs of a rodent problem. These include:
Smell and sound: Rats and mice have a very strong ammonia smell. They are often noisy, making audible scrabbling noises as they move around the premises.
Droppings: Rats excrete about 40 dark, pellet-shaped droppings per day, which are up to 14mm long. Mice can produce 80 oval-shaped droppings, which are typically 5mm long.
Smears: Rodents use established routes along skirting boards and walls due to their poor eyesight. You may notice grease marks where rodents brush up against your walls and surfaces.
Damage: Rodents gnaw on anything to keep their teeth at a manageable size. This includes electric cables, which is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of an infestation, as it causes a fire hazard, while also being very difficult to spot.
Prevention is definitely better than a cure when it comes to rodents, so a proactive pest management strategy is vital.
Three steps to help rodent proof fish and chip shops
Cut out clutter and remove potential entry points: Move storage away from walls where possible, and remember that less clutter means fewer places for rodents to hide. Seal holes in the exterior of the property with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement. Check drains regularly to ensure they aren’t damaged.
Remove sources of food: The simple step of ensuring that food and waste is properly sealed and stored can make a big difference. Mice can survive on 3g of food per day, so even the smallest amount of food waste can feed an infestation.
Employee education: There are online courses available (such as Rentokil’s myLearning) which can educate staff members on the basic elements of pest control, including the biology of the animal, to help them to recognise signs of rodent activity or other pest infestations.
Whether you’re dealing with a pest problem or simply looking to prevent one, it’s important that you know who to contact. It’s the role of external contractors to be fully up-to-date on the latest legislation changes in their area of expertise. Pest controllers are no different, so if you’re in any doubt as to what the best methods of pest control are, and which traps or treatments are appropriate, then it’s always best to check with the experts.
Rentokil Pest Control 0808 250 8113 www.rentokil.co.uk
DID YOU KNOW?
Rentokil offers a low cost, pay as you go contract (PAYG) which provides a quarterly inspection of premises for rodents and common insect pests, such as cockroaches, as well as advice and recommendations for staying pest-free. If a pest problem is detected, additional services can be added on to treat the issue, saving you the headache of dealing with it yourself.