Own a restaurant? The last thing you want is to fall foul of health and safety laws – and the first and best thing you can do to prevent this is ensuring next-level hygiene in and around your premises at all times.
Excellent pest control is vital for any business but when yours is a food and drink company open to the public you really do have to be even more vigilant.
One of the biggest problems for restaurant owners is flies – no one wants to find one in the bottom of their wine glass, or even having a whale of a time in their freshly-prepared meal, after all.
So, what can you do? To help you on your way to a fly-free restaurant, café or canteen, we’ve prepared this informative guide. Read on…
Why Are Flies a Problem for Your Business?
First and foremost, flies are an annoyance. And it’s true that there’s no one out there who enjoys a fly or two buzzing around their breakfast or brunch. More than that, though, when a fly lands on food, work surfaces or equipment in and around your kitchen or food preparation areas, it’s causing contamination.
Like many pests, flies carry disease. Spreading a range of bacteria around your premises – including Salmonella, typhoid, cholera and parasitic worms – they’re a problem for companies like yours as they can quickly result in a bad-mouthing of your business via your otherwise-loyal customers.
Diseases carried by flies are generally done so via their body hairs, the pads on their feet, or even their saliva or faeces. Given out when feeding, such diseases can contaminate food or food preparation areas. So, what can you do?
Fly Control: Prevention is Key
Once flies find their way into your kitchen or restaurant area it’ll become a lot, lot harder to deal with them. With this in mind, it’s far better to consider some of the preventative methods you can put into place to ensure the problem doesn’t arise in the first place.
What to Look Out for: Types of Fly
You might have thought there was only one type of fly ready to blight your business – but you’d be wrong.
Flies come in many shapes and sizes and when it comes to your kitchen and food preparation areas, they’re all as bad as each other when it comes to threatening the levels of hygiene you work so hard to maintain.
It’s worth knowing, for example, that the house fly can live for up to 30 days. Going through a complete four-stage life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult stages, they can quickly prove a problem if you don’t tackle the issue head-on.
Here are the most common types of fly to watch out for:
Bluebottle Flies – Also known as blow flies, these are often found hovering around dustbins and refuse areas. Attracted to pet faeces, dead animals and food, they’re known carriers of disease and they can quickly cause problems for your business.
Around ¼ inch in length, they have a metallic blue colour and their larva is similar to house fly lava in all respects, except size. Breeding in meat-derived substances, they’ll also make a beeline for cheese and are the common pest of dead animals like rodents – nice!
Cluster Flies – Found in quiet parts of your home or business (such as wall voids or attics), these flies need warm places to hibernate during the winter months. They’re attracted to light on sunny winter days, so be wary of large groups of cluster flies around windows.
Around 6-10mm in length, they’re dark grey-olive thorax clothes with golden-brown hairs and wings which oevrlap when at rest. Laying their eggs in soil in late summer or early autumn, their larva develop into earthworms, so you really do need to watch out for these.
Fruit Flies – Often found hovering around fermenting residues in pubs and restaurants, fruit flies love infesting fruit and, as such, are a threat when it comes to your company’s refuse areas.
Around 3mm in length, they’re yellow-brown or mottled in colour and have bright red eyes. Breeding in rotten fruit or uncleaned drains, you might also found them around cleaning utensils – keep an eye open and act fast if you spot a problem occurring.
House Flies – Huge carriers of disease, house flies can infest all types of premises and are attracted to everything from food waste to animal feed and faeces.
They’re around 5-8mm in length and have grey thorax with four narrow stripes and a yellow or buff abdomen. Covered in small hairs that serve as taste organs, larva is white and tapers to a point at the end. Quick to mature from an egg to an adult, house flies are laid in batches of 120 to 150 and can hatch in as few as eight hours – stay on your guard and call in the professionals if you think you have a house fly problem.
Common Flies and How to Prevent Them
When it comes to preventing flies from entering your business, there are a number of things you can do. Of course, it’s predominantly about ensuring each and every member of staff knows what they should be doing in terms of best hygiene practice. With this in mind, it’s worth putting some steps in place to ensure everyone is working towards a shared goal. Here’s a few things you can do:
Store and Prepare Food Correctly – Don’t run the risk of contamination. Instead, keep food uncovered for as short a time as possible. Likewise, don’t leave food on a work surface while you’re cooling or preparing it. Use containers with lids or washable net protectors to minimise contamination at all times.
Consider How You and Your Team Disposes of Food Waste – A lot of the time, pest control starts outside of the building, which is why it’s important to work out what might attract flies to your premises in the first place. Once you’ve determined this, put some controls in place immediately to ensure they’re no longer tempted to hover in and around food preparation areas, or worse still, by tables and customers.
Waste bins should always be kept well away from the building, with a dedicated member of staff ready to collect and remove discarded food as often as possible. Some businesses find that a waste compactor helps reduce the volume of waste – and therefore the number of flies attracted to the building.
Ensure you have facilities in place to allow staff to work hygienically in and around the building. Always operate a ‘clean as you go’ policy and ensure your team has received the necessary training to act in a hygienic manner at all times. Keep bins topped up with fresh bin bags and remove waste from food prep areas as often as possible.
Don’t Forget to Uphold Good Standards Where Cleaning’s Concerned – Of course, when it comes to pest control, a good cleaning routine is important too. A well-designed schedule will ensure that no stone is left unturned when it comes to clean and well-maintained food prep areas.
Ensure you clean not just your work surfaces but the whole area – kitchens, front of house, toilets etc – including equipment and any tools your staff need to do their jobs well. Don’t forget to clean outside drains, too; these can be a breeding ground for flies and other pests.
Think About Fly Screens – Do you often leave windows or doors open for fresh air? If this is the case, consider fitting some fly screens, which are simply secondary doors made from mesh, or hanging plastic strips or metal chain curtains. They’re generally made from cleanable mesh, too.
What About Electronic Flying Insect Killers? – Here’s another idea for any business owners who are worried about a fly infestation threatening the operation of their company. It’s worth knowing that once flies have entered a building, they can be attracted by ultraviolet light into a fly trap. These electronic flying-insect killers are generally referred to as ‘insectocutors’ or ‘fly zappers’ and while they’re not the most humane way of dealing with pests – they electrocute the flies with an electric grid and the dead flies then fall into a catching tray below – you’ll have the peace of mind you’re looking for that your business is protected at all times.
When to Call Out the Professionals
When it comes to fly control, the very best thing you can do is set up some good preventative measures. If, however, it’s too late and the issue has got out of hand, now’s the time to call out a professional contractor.
Offering dedicated service contracts for flying-insect killers, they may also be able to give you some advice and tips to put into place going forwards, too – contact your local pest control team today.
Want some more advice? Don’t forget to check out the Food Standards Agency website, which has some useful hints and tips for anyone worried about safe and effective pest control in the workplace.