The Dirty Business of Cockroach Control

No commercial facility is exempt from the threat of cockroaches. Conditions conducive to cockroaches exist in all commercial facilities.

Cockroaches are known for being dirty and businesses that have a cockroach infestation are viewed as unclean operations. But there’s more to it than just a seemingly untidy business.

Cockroaches frequent filthy areas like dumpsters, garbage cans, grease traps and floor drains and in the process pick up and transmit disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and other harmful pathogens, causing food borne illnesses and other health hazards. This makes them an extreme risk for many commercial facilities, especially those involved in food processing and service.

No commercial facility is exempt from the threat of cockroaches. Conditions conducive to cockroaches exist in virtually all commercial structures including:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Food processing plants
  • Food and retail grocery stores
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Apartment buildings

As if that wasn’t enough, cockroaches also have odorous secretions which alter the taste of food and, in large infestations, can cause an unpleasant smell throughout your business. Discarded exoskeletons, feces, and dander can also trigger allergies and even asthma attacks, especially in children.

An Unwanted Attraction

What attracts cockroaches to a commercial facility? Like all pests, cockroaches are looking for food, shelter and water. A food processing facility – say a brewery – has all three of those in abundance but what about an office building? The answer is yes.

An office building may not have the leftover food waste or thousands of gallons of water found in a brewery, but food left out in a breakroom or a leaky sink in a bathroom can attract and sustain cockroaches.

Because cockroaches are omnivorous, they’ll eat just about anything. They are particularly attracted to meats, starches, sugars, and other fatty foods, but in dire circumstances, they may chew on soap or glue.

Cockroaches are more than just an annoyance and can wreak havoc on your brand’s reputation and bottom line. Every mobile phone is a camera and a video on social media showing cockroaches climbing up the wall of a restaurant will certainly get lots of likes but not by customers or inspectors.

Issues with cockroaches also do not sit well with third-party auditors or inspectors. Having to shutdown a production line to deal with a cockroach problem is a costly exercise. Worse yet is having a product recalled due to a contamination issues because of exposure to bacteria transferred by cockroaches.

Not only are consumers at risk of contracting a food-borne illness, but the financial and people resources that will be invested as well as the threat fines or legal action should someone get ill because of eating the tainted product, could lead be significant.

Because of cockroaches’ abundance, affinity for hiding, and quick feet – they’ve been recorded at speeds of over three mph, which, when scaled to humans, is like running over 200 mph – they are experts at evading extermination. And while they can tolerate extreme conditions and have adapted to some pesticides and cockroach control methods, it is possible to oust them from your business.

Sprague recommends following the steps to prevent cockroaches from becoming a problem in commercial facilities:

  • Regular sanitation efforts are a must. A lapse in your sanitation efforts can create an environment that attracts cockroaches.
    Schedule time to regularly deep clean all appliances and equipment — the cleaner the environment, the less chance cockroaches will be attracted.
  • Have the exterior dumpster garbage removed from the premises every couple of days. In warmer weather, make sure the trash is removed daily.
  • Establish a barrier around your facility of at least 18 inches of crushed rock or gravel. This can eliminate the harborage areas for pests, including cockroaches.
  • Work with Sprague to establish monitoring programs to identify trends and stay ahead of an infestation.
    Cockroach control should be performed by an experienced professional, as it requires sustained, strategic, and systematic prevention and control measures. There’s no ‘silver bullet’ solution and keeping out cockroaches require the stacking the effects involved with an integrated pest management (IPM) program.

For more information on how Sprague Pest Solutions can assist you prevent and control cockroaches in your facility, call 855.805.0755.