Preparing Your Restaurant For The Holiday Pest Season

The holiday season is just around the corner with all of its joy, celebrations, scrumptious appetizers and delectable deserts. But like most things in life, there is always a cautionary tale lurking amid the trappings of tinsel and dazzling colors. For many businesses, especially restaurants, there are a host of problems that detract from the joys of the season, and one of the most serious concerns the infestations of winter pests.

Rats and mice are as seasonal as mistletoe, plum pudding and latkes, and their menu is anything they can find. They gnaw on electrical wires, which can cause serious fires. The bacteria they carry and droppings they leave behind contaminate every surface they come in contact with. Mice contaminate 10 times the amount of food they consume. A rodent infestation must be addressed immediately by the experts, such as our pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco Professional Services.

Mice Infestation Prevention Tips
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According to the National Pest Management Association, more than twenty million rodents (both rats and mice) invade homes and businesses every year. Ugh and ick aside, rodents are vectors of plague, rat-bite fever, Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis, typhus and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. They are dreaded anathema to a restaurant’s stature in a community.

Nothing sends diners flying never to return than a rodent scampering across a restaurant floor or worse, table. Once they gain ingress and infest a space, problems escalate rapidly and Pestco experts must act quickly with a highly structured Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in order to salvage your restaurant’s reputation.

Relevant Studies and Statistics

Rats and mice are the bane of the restaurant industry and for every single rat that is visible there are hundreds more that aren’t. For Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania restaurant managers and owners who are focused on maintaining their hard-earned reputations, increasing traffic and that elusive, all-important bottom line, this sobering reality presents a constant challenge. In 2016, one local pest control company rated Pittsburgh as #18 on the list of the “top twenty rattiest cities in America.”

A very popular Asian restaurant that Pittsburgh City Paper readers had voted to be one of Pittsburgh’s best eateries, was cited for health violations. The Allegheny Health Department closed this facility after inspectors discovered a significant rodent infestation and many other health code violations. The inspection report revealed shocking details, indicating the presence of a dead rodent inside a cooking vessel and old droppings found on a wooden platform used to transport goods and in between boxes of food. Many flies were also discovered in the basement where the food was always prepared.

Staying out of the red can be difficult for any business, but it is a special challenge for restaurant owners, who are often faced with shrinking profit margins due to the variable cost of food, supplies, labor, insurance and unexpected repairs. Any type of pest infestation, particularly a rodent invasion, is the last thing a restaurant owner is prepared to deal with, and yet if it is not faced aggressively, it can signal the end of business operations.

Winter Rodent Pest Regulars

The Norway rat probably found its way to Pittsburgh in the same manner it arrived at other American ports, namely, as stowaways aboard European sailing ships. They hid in the cargo holds and consumed those food sources that were intended to sustain colonists and animals on their long, arduous voyages to the New World.

The Norway rat aka the Brown Rat and the Sewer rat is usually brown in color and weighs on average about 11 ounces. At maturity, they can reach up to 18 inches, which includes the tail. These rodents can penetrate restaurant structures via openings as small as ½ inch. Their teeth are razor sharp and can chew through metal, concrete, plastic garbage cans, insulation, and most dangerously, electrical wires. They nest near garbage and breed in basements.

Rat Teeth Are Powerful

The life cycle of a Norway rat rarely exceeds 18 months, but their ability to reproduce correlates directly to the speed in which a rat population can get out of hand. The is why restaurant owners and managers must not hesitate to call the professional pest-control and pest-management for quick and efficient solutions.

Mice bring other pests along for the free ride to restaurants. When they invade, they often carry many parasites such as mites, ticks, and fleas, all of which come with their own particular set of problems. Experts surmise that one single mouse can carry as many as 100 ticks in its fur. The House Mouse is no exception. 

Since they do not hibernate, when temperatures drop, they seek out a warmer place to live. Attracted to the smell of food and the warmth of a structure, restaurants as well as private residences are vulnerable to infestation. The house mouse can use any opening, such as utility lines, pipe openings and gaps beneath doors, to gain ingress into any space.

6 Important Restaurant Pest Prevention Tips

The following tips can prove helpful to the average Pittsburgh restaurant owner and manager who must their premises from rodent invasions. They are mostly common sense procedures, but are worthy of mentioning.

Maintain Spotless Cooking, Food Prep & Storage Areas

This includes cleaning the floors, wiping down tables with clean, moist towels, and removing spills promptly.

Keep Both Indoor & Outdoor Dining Areas Clean & Clutter-Free

Due to the fact that rodents are attracted to the smell of food, you must eliminate the pungent odors of garbage, dirty dishes and overflowing garbage cans that may be emanating from your restaurant. 

Rotate Products & Remove Expired & Damaged Food Stock Often

Open cartons, spilled food stuffs and poorly maintained pantry shelves are havens for rodents in search of accessible food stuff.

Bag All Food Waste Tightly

One restauranteur’s garbage is another rodent’s banquet.

Empty Dumpster As Often As Possible & Keep The Doors Closed

Dumpsters full of garbage attract rodents both as sources of shelter and food.

Eliminate Possible Points of Ingress Indoors & Outdoors

This includes small holes and worn weather stripping. Outdoor landscape should be clean and manicured to eliminate possible hiding places. If you notice rodent droppings, chewed boxes or wires, unusual odors or greasy marks along baseboards, it’s time to call our teams at Pestco and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program. 

Pittsburgh Rodent And Pest Control Initiatives 

We are a family-owned and run business that has been in continuous operation for more than seventy years. We are the leading provider of long term and emergency pest-control, pest-management and exclusionary solutions for commercial and industrial spaces throughout Greater Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and the West Virginia panhandle. This covers many industries besides restaurants, and the list includes: hotels, schools and universities, nursing homes and healthcare facilities, salons and spas and both office and apartment complexes.

Pittsburgh Pest Exclusion Services For Businesses
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Over the course of more than seven decades, we have blossomed and maintained an unblemished reputation for superior customer service. We’re 5-star-reviewed and provide superior services that far exceed industry standards. Our knowledgeable and highly trained technicians can provide quick answers to every emergency pest infestation question under the sun. 

Our integrated rodent pest control program provides the perfect balance between standard baiting and trapping methods with environmental management and pest exclusion strategies. Pesticides are always avoided whenever possible, and when they are employed, technicians always ensure the safety of surrounding areas and all humans and pets that might be affected by their application. 

The first step is always a thorough inspection of the premises, which includes careful scrutiny of foundation cracks, poorly sealed vents, drain pipes, and any other areas of ingress that may not be properly closed off. These potential entry points are then sealed up. 

We service Greater Pittsburgh and environs as well as businesses located in: West Mifflin, Sewickley, Coraopolis, Fox Chapel, Tarentum, Allison Park, Shaler, North Hills, South Hills, Bethel Park, Mount Lebanon, Clairton, Homestead, Monroeville, South Hills, North Versailles, White Oak, Cheswick, Bridgeville, Upper St. Clair, Elizabeth, Swissvale, McKees Rocks, Wexford, and all other sections throughout Western PA.

Pittsburgh Cockroach Removal Services
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Our solutions are steeped in extensive experience and are based on the principles of prevention; inspection; exclusion; understanding insect behavior and the ability to identify signs of any type of infestation. Well-schooled technicians attend workshops regularly, which keeps them a few steps ahead of the pests they come face to face with on a daily basis. 

Our stellar reputation is matched only by our enduring respect for the preservation of the environment. This is evidenced by our reliance on green, sustainable products, when requested, that do not contain harmful pesticides that can greatly impact our carbon footprint and the legacy we hope to leave for future generations.

Complete Facility Hygiene Services

One of our grandest achievements concerns our three-pronged initiative known as the Complete Facility Care. It is currently available to owners and managers of all types of commercial spaces (including restaurants) within Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania environs as well as parts of Ohio and West Virginia.


This coordinated program represents a vast array of professional services and provides the ultimate strategies for integrated pest control and pest-management services as just one of the three aspects of a cost-effective blanket of bundled services. The other two areas concern superior washroom hygiene services provided Enviro-Master and environmental odor control products and air-freshening solutions supplied by the ambient air-care leaders at Air-Scent International.

Harnessing these specific services for use at an indoor restaurant can enhance your hard-earned reputation and improve traffic and that all-important bottom line. As an important member of the food industry, whether you are a restaurant owner or manager of any other type of establishment involved in food production and storage, you must strive to become the best you can be. This means becoming a rodent-free establishment with clean, pleasant-smelling restrooms for both visiting customers and employees.

In Conclusion 

Protect your restaurant with an IPM program that prevents rodent problems before they occur. Keep an eye out for these unwelcome critters that are most likely to pay you a visit this winter, and work with your pest management provider to put the “freeze” on these destructive pests. Call our teams today – (412) 252-5200. No regrets tomorrow. Guaranteed.

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