When you’re in charge of running a restaurant, there will undoubtedly be an endless amount of tasks to take care of on a daily basis. It can be tough to prioritize the best operational practices in a highly stressful, fast-paced environment. Unfortunately, if you fail to clean up properly and follow preventative methods, your eatery could soon be infested with rodents.
What’s more, you might not even realize you have a need for a rat or mice exterminator until the problem becomes severe. To avoid potential health liabilities, issues with inspection, and bad publicity, you should learn how to recognize the signs of a rodent problem. If you observe any of the following, you’ll want to contact a commercial exterminator to assess the situation and to take swift action.
- Grease Trails: You might be surprised to learn that rodents are quite oily. In fact, they leave grease marks behind when they travel along the walls or squeeze through tight openings. If you’re noticing strange marks of grease and you know it’s not due to a problem with the deep fryer, it’s probable that some rodents could be to blame. Mice tend to leave behind subtler grease marks than rats do, but they can still be noticeable to the naked eye.
- Damaged Packaging: There are likely a number of packaged foods inside your restaurant’s kitchen, many of them left out in the open. Rodents will nibble their way into packages, like bags of beans or boxes of pasta, to find something edible. And if you’ve made the mistake of failing to secure these kinds of food packages, you could be in trouble. After all, rodents consume or contaminate approximately 20% of the world’s food supply. Should you notice strange holes or tear marks in this packaging, you should suspect that unwanted guests are to blame.
- Gnaw Marks: Rats and mice don’t merely chew through packaging; they can actually gnaw through walls, furnishings, and even restaurant equipment, as well as wiring and cabling throughout the building. Not only is this extremely destructive, but it can also present a huge safety hazard for your employees and your customers. These small scratches and marks can be difficult to see, as a rat’s tooth marks are about an eighth of an inch long, with mice making even smaller indentations. Be sure to examine key areas closely and contact your rodent control expert if you’re worried about an infestation.
- Droppings: One of the more obvious (and disgusting) signs of rodent activity is the fecal matter these creatures leave behind. While it’s certainly not a welcome sight, it can be helpful when trying to confirm the presence of rodents, as well as what kind you might be dealing with. Areas that have a lot of droppings will likely be where your pest control services will focus their efforts. If you notice any indication of mouse or rat droppings, you’ll need to contact a commercial exterminator, rather than going the DIY route. When you’re running a restaurant, the risk is simply too high to take a chance.
- Smells and Sounds: Rodents won’t always clearly announce their presence. In a loud, hot kitchen that’s full of different smells and sounds, it can be difficult to recognize an infestation. That’s why you’ll also need to be aware of your surroundings before the meal rush to ensure that those subtle signs don’t go undetected. Mice give off a distinctively musky and stale odor, which is attributed to their urine. You might also hear scratching sounds late at night. Since rodents are nocturnal, this can be hard to catch. But if you’re working late in the office and hear strange rustling noises or sense an “off” odor, you may want to place a call to your commercial exterminator come morning.
While these aren’t the only signs of a rodent infestation, they’re among the most common that commercial exterminators see. If you suspect you might have mice or rats in your restaurant, contact us right away for further assistance. While you want plenty of new customers coming in, rodents are a totally different story.