Is your commercial kitchen ready to reopen?
Sunday 21st June 2020
Last week it was reported that the Government are set to release a statement with the welcome news that pub and restaurant gardens can open to the public in July for the first time since the Corona virus closed everything down.
After a spell of fine weather, this is great news for local businesses; and is a welcome change for regular visitors to these establishments. However, the good news comes with some unwelcome news. With commercial kitchens being opened for the first time in months, reports of rats and mice has surged as there has been minimal activity and monitoring over the last few months. It's now a matter of urgency to take action and control the infestations in these establishments before the opening day.
Mice or Rats
The common house mouse is a cute looking creature, and the temptation would be to leave it alone. But Mus Domesticus is a prolific breeder and baby mice, called pups, can spread disease and cause damage to businesses and property very quickly.
So how can you tell the difference between a mouse and a rat? It's important to know what you're dealing with in order to treat the problem effectively.
The common house mice are usually brown in colour and have large ears, with a long thin tail that is often covered in hair. Mice are covered with short hair over the body that is a lighter colour on its underside. The average mouse will weigh between 12 and 48 grams and averagely 3 - 11cm long.
A mature mouse will have 4-18 pups per litter and 7-10 litters per year; that's a lot of mice and a lot of unpleasant droppings to clear up. With that calculation in mind, the empty pub or restaurant may have up to 36 mice in its kitchen or cellar - imagine the damage being done. For more information click here
Rattus Norvegicus, the brown rat and to a lesser extent the Rattus Rattus, ship rat or black rat are the most prevalent and they are highly adept at their ability to live in close quarters with humans. These rodents are incredibly destructive and, just like the common mouse, will spread disease. Close monitoring is required.
The obvious difference between rats and mice is the size. A rat, either black or brown, will be larger; between 16 and a whopping 42cm long, weighing in between 150 - 320 grams. It is covered in short hair with a long hairless tail. Another feature of a rat is small ears and large feet. A rat likes to climb so the large feet come in handy for climbing all over the kitchen worktops, generally making a nuisance of itself.
If that wasn't unpleasant enough, rats will have 5-10 pups per litter and 3-8 litters per year. So left to their own devices, a rat family of up to 28 pups could be in the building and garden at any one time. For more information click here
Prevention is Better than Cure.
So what can we do? Prevention is always better than cure, but in these unusual times with many businesses that closed almost overnight, many may not have put measures in place. Consider where rat and mice burrows can be found.
Black rats like to build their nests high up and it's these that can be found in loft spaces, outhouses and barns. Brown rats are ground dwellers, so can be found in drains and cellars. Some brown rats will burrow in and pub gardens with the availability of food and drink is an ideal home.
In order to gain access to your premises rats only require a small hole or access point, no more than the size of a £2 coin. Once in and settled, thousands of pounds worth of damage can be caused; not to mention the loss of business when you discover you've got a sitting tenant.
Mice will use their sharp teeth and claws to access through a hole no wider than a pencil. So you can see the extent of the problem and fact is prevention is not always possible. for more information
Any pub, wine bar or restaurant business will tell you that the County Council has very strict rules in place. Hygiene is paramount; council inspections are top priority. Business owners have a statutory responsibility to protect their clients and staff from pests. Unfortunately, some businesses will be stopped in their tracks before they get a chance to open.
Is Commercial Pest Control the Answer?
Ultimately yes. If your premises are inspected and rat or mice droppings are found you will be closed down immediately - and quite rightly too. In some cases large fines and penalties are put on the owner, and a hard earned reputation, built up over years, can be ruined in a moment. So what can be done?
By having commercial pest control in place you're showing the Council and your customers due diligence - making a statement that you care, and with ongoing monitoring in place, shows your commitment. After all, those 5-star hygiene stickers that catering businesses have to display require commitment and hard work to maintain: and the public knows this.
Getting Rid of Pests
Rats, in particular, are intelligent creatures and have learnt to adapt in order to survive. They can easily sniff out a trap, so success can be limited if you don't know what you're doing. In recent years rats have become immune to some rodenticides and the overuse of them by DIY controllers have caused more harm than good.
It's always advisable to get professional help. A pest control professional will have all modern means and techniques at their disposal, which are not available to the public. Remember a permanent pest control contract with a recommended BPCA provider (British Pest Control Association) will act as a backup.
It's only with these measures in place will the Council allow you to tackle the problem without closing you down. So it's an insurance policy to ensure you stay in business in these tricky times.
Spare a thought for the barn owl and secondary poisoning of pets. This is a major concern and Permkill Pest Control are advocates of monitoring with non-poisonous methods. It is one of the few companies who have a strong environmental and ecological policy in place, other companies would do well to follow suit.
Let's not forget pub gardens, outdoor seating areas and any outdoor space that are the new home to wasps and hornets. Right now is nest-building season; so before you open your premises it's wise to ask for a full report into all the possible hazards.
Meet the Professionals
Permkill Pest Control, based in Cheshunt, Waltham cross, Hertfordshire. Covering North London to include Enfield,Barnet and Haringey. They are fully qualified to remove rodent and insect/wasp nests, holding the BPCA / RSPH level 2 Award in Pest Management.
As members of Basis Prompt, a registered independent industry and government recognised register of professional pest controllers, Permkill has full public liability insurance and complies with all relevant health and safety legislation.
Certified members of the British Pest Control Association means that any remedial work is carried out to the highest standard. For more information about BPCA click here
If you have a problem with pests don't take any risks. Call a professional. After all, that's what they're there for.