Bed Bug Detection and Prevention in Restaurants
A distasteful reality
Don’t you think restaurateurs have enough chainsaws to juggle without having to worry about bed bugs in their restaurants? And yet believe it or not, while not as common as flies, rodents, and other pests, bed bugs are a year round threat to any restaurant.
How can bed bugs happen to my restaurant?
Bed bugs are notorious hitch hikers, and they can travel into your restaurant via customers, staff, deliveries, and even from neighboring structures. In the years I’ve been a Pest Management Professional (PMP), I have found bed bugs in restaurants everywhere from the banquette seats to the locker room to the coatroom. And if they are in these locations then they can be anywhere in between.
What should I not do?
As with any challenge in the restaurant industry, you should neither panic nor should you ignore the problem. In fact, educating yourself and your team is one of the most effective ways to protect your restaurant, and you can do this by familiarizing yourself with what this pest looks like and by having your PMP come in to your establishment to educate your staff on bed bugs. Managers should encourage an atmosphere of “if you see something say something” when it comes to bed bugs, with team members being commended for speaking up. And most importantly, anything that is a potential specimen should never be thrown away or destroyed but should always be kept for a PMP or entomologist to identify.
How do I detect bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, but they are not invisible and they can be identified before an introduction becomes an infestation. Your PMP will inspect for all pests on every visit, but since you and your team are in your restaurant much more of the time, everyone’s eyes should be open for these pests. Even better are the bed bug monitoring devices which are available and which provide 24 hour a day detection. These monitors should be placed in any “critical” areas and should be checked regularly.
How do I deter bed bugs?
There is no way to eliminate absolutely bed bugs from coming into your restaurant. However, in addition to early detection, there are several things that can be done to deter them from getting established. First, periodic barrier treatments by your PMP will aid in preventing them from traveling into your restaurant from wall voids, electric outlets, and neighboring structures. Second, coat rooms can be treated in various ways to be ready to meet any newly introduced bugs. And third, locker rooms can be flushed out to see if bed bugs are hiding in various cracks and crevices.
So even though bed bugs are once again part of life, there is no reason why they need to be a part of your restaurant. Through education, early-detection, and proper treatments, you can make sure the only ones eating at your restaurant are the paying customers.
Dr. Joel R. Grassi is an Accounts Manager at BHB Pest Elimination. He is certified Bed Bug Specialist and a NYS licensed applicator. If you would like him to provide you with a complimentary assessment of your restaurant as it relates to pest management, please contact him at 212-242-3383 or firstname.lastname@example.org