Top ten Pub & catering pests

THE TOP TEN PUB PESTS

When it comes to health and hygiene, no pub, club or bar can afford to be complacent.  One of the surest ways to bring down the wrath of environmental health officers, and lose a lot of business and goodwill, is to have an infestation of pests.

 

All it takes is for one customer to spot a mouse and before you know it the resulting bad publicity can hamstring the business.  That is why pubs and bars, like any organisation that handles foodstuffs, need to take a proactive approach to pests.  Rather than control, the key is prevention.

 

Preventing infestations can save time, money and no end of hassles.  The policy should range from the obvious (training staff to clear up spillages) to the professional (bringing in a contractor to ‘proof’ the building).  It is always easier to prevent problems rather than dealing with them after the event.

 

To that end, below we have highlighted the ten pests most likely to cause a nuisance to publicans.  Forewarned is forearmed!

 

  1. Fruit flies

Active in spring and summer, these insects are the number one pest problem for public houses and bars.  These particular bugs favour fermenting organic materials, particularly those with high sugar content.  As a result they will quickly seize upon any spillages of alcoholic or sugary beverages.

 

The key to prevention is cleanliness.  Make sure spillages are quickly cleared up, especially in those hard to reach places, and the flies will have to look elsewhere for their drinks!

 

2.  House mice

The second most common pub pest, these little critters are active all year.  However, the colder autumn months result in mice seeking food and shelter indoors, often leading to infestations in inadequately protected pubs.

 

Preventing mice-related problems generally involves a combination of cleanliness and proofing.  Professional contractors can find the gaps in the walls that the mice use to get in and seal them up.

 

3. Brown rats

Next on the list is what most people think of when the words ‘pest control’ are used – rats.  Another year-round problem, rats escape into town centre buildings where there are defects in the urban sewer system.  They can also be found in country pubs located near their hidey-holes in farms, arable land and canals.  Rats, like mice, are most problematic during autumn and winter.

 

Again, the way to beat them is to deny them a food source.  For example, rat incisors can easily open unprotected rubbish bags, so a good first step is to invest in rodent-proof bins.

 

4  Garden ants

Like most insect pests, these are active in the warmer months.  They are a significant nuisance to publicans, as a single worker can locate discarded sugary foodstuffs in a kitchen or restaurant, signal its fellow ants and pretty soon they return en masse.  As a result, good hygiene and cleanliness will force them to look elsewhere.

 

5. Insects from bird nests

Wild birds like pigeons are not always seen as pests, despite the diseases they carry and the damage and food contamination caused by their droppings.  

 

For publicans, however, the main threat comes when they nest on the roof.  Those nests often carry a variety of insects that migrate down into the building and go after foodstuffs and spilled beverages.  The spider beetle and biscuit beetle, to name but two.

 

As a result, pubs should invest in simple anti-perching deterrents like sprung wire and stainless steel post systems.  These will prevent birds from nesting and can also restrict the number of droppings staining the benches in your beer garden!

 

6. Filter flies

These pests love pub cellars, where they can breed in decomposing organic material such as food waste and spilled beer, as well as dirty drains.  Although keeping the public areas clean will keep customers happy, good hygiene practice is essential in all parts of a pub.

 

7. Common wasps

Wasps are common at the height of summer.  They are found more in suburban areas than city centres, as suburbs tend to offer more breeding sites.  This means there can often be major wasp infestation problems for pubs located in the suburbs.

 

Proofing the interior, with strip curtains and fly screens, can help to keep these stinging pests away from your kitchens and your paying customers.

 

8. Dermestes beetles

Also known as hide or larder beetles, these pests feast on high protein debris such as animal matter.  They can be a problem behind the bar if food waste (like bacon rinds) is not cleaned up swiftly.

 

9. House flies

House flies only appear in summer, but may occur all year round indoors where hygiene standards are particularly poor.  These flies constantly pursue waste food material, particularly if it is high in protein.  They will often be seen around rubbish bins.

 

Pubs with kitchens and restaurants need to maintain high standards of hygiene and have in place adequate proofing measures (i.e. strip curtains/chain link doors/fly-screens) to prevent fly ingress, as well as electric fly-killing units. 

 

10. Fleas

Because so many customers bring dogs into pubs, fleas can be a real problem.  Thorough and regular cleaning can help to prevent them jumping from pets to humans.