Pests are a nuisance, both to the kitchen and human health. They attack the kitchen, contaminate food, cause food poisoning through the spread of pathogens, and damage the kitchen structure such as electric cables and wires.
The dangers of these pests cannot be over-emphasized. In this article, you will be learning how to keep pests out of the kitchen. You will also understand the different types of pests, their attraction to the kitchen, and how to eliminate them finally.
What are the Types of Pests in the Kitchen?
- Rodents – Rats and mice
- Insects – cockroaches, beetles, flies etc
- Birds – pigeons, seagulls etc
The most prevalent pests are rodents and insects. They are the most stubborn, hard to eradicate, and dangerous pests. They can make a home in your kitchen. That’s how difficult they can be.
To keep them away from the kitchen, you must first be able to identify their presence. This leads us to the next section. When you discover any of the below signs, know that they are present in your home.
- Egg casings (called an ootheca ) come in the form of small shells that are black, brown, or dark. They are often found in dark cupboards, especially those attached to wooden surfaces.
- Strong oily orders
- Small droppings that look like tiny black pepper grains
- Evidence of gnawed holes.
- Evidence of gnawed goods or packaging
- Seeing flies all over the kitchen and the surroundings
- Observing the multitude of flies flocking around the waste bins and garbage cans
- Seeing a few flies often.
- Small black droppings are usually about the size of rice grains for the mice, and about the size of jelly beans for the rats.
- The strong smell of rodent urine (ammonia)
- Tiny nests made from lint and fabric
- Animal footprints
- Presence of dead carcasses or moulted ‘skins’
- Presence of live vermin, especially around dark areas or inside cupboards.
Practices that Attracts Pests to your Kitchen
Firstly, to eradicate pests from the kitchen, you must be able to understand what attracts them to the kitchen.
Some of the practices include:
- Presence of uncleanable containers
- Poor condition split
- Over-stocking of fridges.
- Dispose of refuse bins close to the kitchens
- Leaving dispose bins open and exposed to the atmosphere
- Stacking food containers directly on top of other foods
- Poor cling filming of foods
- Leaving of food spillage overnight
- Un-organization of utensils in the cabinets
- Keeping stuffy storerooms.
- Exposing cracks on the external walls without any proper repair given to it.
What Should Food Handlers Do to Keep Pests Out of the Kitchen?
Good hygiene, proper housekeeping, and effective insect exclusion techniques are the general ways to keep pests off the kitchen. Even if you don’t have a current problem with pests, you must implore these strategies to prevent them.
There are two major ways to pest prevention. They are:
- Closing access
- Removing attractions
Both strategies have to be implemented for this battle against pests to be won. So we will be looking at them separately.
1. Closing Access
Closing access involves blocking every suspicious access area to the kitchen or house premises.
- Fitting the frames of your external doors tightly and closely leaving no gaps.
- Attach brush strips to badly fitting doors.
- When necessary, Install fly screens over external windows and doors
- Close all gaps around pipework or cables that breach external walls, grates with effective rodent resistant materials such as concrete
- Fill all cracks in the walls, floors and ceilings no matter how small for they can provide harbourage for insects.
2. Removing the Attraction
Removing attractions involves removing anything that can draw these pests to your kitchen or house premises.
- Storing open packs of dry food in containers with tight lids
- Store food off the floor
- Clean up any food spillage on the floor as soon as possible
- Keeping your refuse storage area clean to avoid attracting rats and cockroaches
- Make sure all your refuse bins have securely fitted lids
- Dispose all refuse very night before leaving the kitchen
- Keep refuse far away from the kitchen
- Make sure your bin is emptied and cleaned out on a regular basis
- Ensure all the surrounding vegetation is kept under control to prevent harbourage
- Avoid accumulations of redundant equipment in the kitchen. Dispose items that are not in use.
- Rotate food stock regularly
- Never leave food and drink overnight outside the refrigerator
- Fix any form of water spillage or drainage linkage in the kitchen,
- Storing food away from walls at least six inches off the floor
- Keeping off kitchen equipment at least six inches above the floor
- Keeping a sanitary work environment by regular cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen after use and before closing for the day.
It is pertinent that you remember that the ultimate responsibility for pest control and prevention lies in the hand of the kitchen controller, be it in the home or hospitality centers.
One of the most effective ways of keeping pests off the kitchen is treating them off at the early stage. It is easy to eradicate them at this stage. They can be challenging to control when they have grown to a specific population.
Control Measures Against Early Detection of Peats in the Kitchen
So when signs of pests are detected, I recommend you take the following actions.
- Close down the kitchen or food business until the mice, rats or cockroaches have been effectively cleared from the food store room, preparation and service areas.
- You can use an insecticide to fumigate the whole environment. First, you must remove all food items and equipment so that they don’t get contaminated. There are specialized insecticides in the markets for various classes of insects and rodents. They are also effective traps for rodents in the market.
- If you can’t do it, you can engage the service of a qualified, competent person or pest control contractor to survey the premises and carry out the specific treatment to clear the premises of the infestation.
- This means that you should call your pest control contractor or set up a pest control contract if you do not already have one.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and equipment that have been contaminated by pests, including the floor, and the kitchen utensils.
- Cautiously sweep away rodent droppings, dead cockroaches and cockroach egg cases from the premises after the treatment process.
- For more serious cases, you can contact your local Environmental Health Officer
What is Cross-Contamination?
Cross Contamination is the unintentional transfer of microbial contaminants from one medium to another. For instance, from raw meat or dirty hands to cooked food.
Apart from peat infestation, you can also be involved in cross-contamination, which is equally dangerous to your health and your customers.
How to Prevent Cross-Contamination
The following practices help in preventing activities of cross-contamination.
- Frequent hand washing,
- Thorough, regular and timely cleaning of work surfaces and equipment
- Using od safe food storage materials
- Frequent removal of contamination of hands using antibacterial hand soap and hot water to wash your hands after leaving the food stores, and before and after cooking.
- Remember to constantly wash your hands. Do it thoroughly and frequently
- For improved safety in the kitchen, you can contact the Food Storage & Allergies to learn proper food storage arrangements to minimise the possibility of accidental contamination of foods by the common allergy foods. For example, you don’t store nuts above flour bins. This is necessary to minimize cases of cross-contamination in the kitchen.
Dry Food Storage and good dry foods are very susceptible to pest attacks, frequently, from ants, flies, flour beetles, and Spiders. Place such foods into sealed or lidded food containers or good food bins. Ensure always to use food-grade containers.
I hope you love and found this article interesting. For more insights or knowledge in kitchen etiquettes, slide into the next posts.