It is said that for every single rat that can be seen, there are hundreds more that are hidden from view.
Not such a reassuring thought. to say the very least for Pittsburgh restaurant managers and owners attempting to maintain their hard-earned reputations, increase traffic and that hard-earned, all-important bottom line.
Rats are the worst nightmare a restaurant owner can be forced to deal with because so much is at stake.
Not only is their presence the ultimate turn off to customers, they can also be a hindrance in passing a safety inspection by the Board of Health.
With the possible exception of slithering snakes, few critters are more maligned than rats.
Believed to have evolved on the plains of China, their exact origin remains a mystery.
Their association with the Black Plague that decimated Europe in the 13th century and other dreaded diseases has made them critters to avoid and fear.
The presence of even one not only signifies there are many others, but also prompts the immediate need to contact the pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco.
Although rats prefer grains, they are opportunistic foragers and will eat just about anything that crosses their path.
Their urine and feces, which are left behind on any uneaten food, cause serious damage.
They consume and contaminate foodstuffs and animal feed, cause structural damages to buildings and their foundations, roadways, railroad tracks and irrigation canals.
Rats destroy business reputations that have taken years to establish, as their presence anywhere ,but particularly in a restaurant, can ruin its good standing within a community forever.
Rats are considered vectors of more human diseases than any other life form, with the possible exception of the mosquito.
Some of the maladies they spread include: bubonic and pneumonic plague, murine typhus, salmonella, leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and tularemia.
Due to the fact that their teeth never stop growing from the moment they are born, rats chew all the time on everything.
When they gnaw on electrical wiring, results can be destructive to buildings, causing fires and grave structural damage.
The Restaurant Industry and Pest Infestation
Pest-control and pest-management problems are more challenging in a restaurant setting than other commercial environments.
This is due to a number of unavoidable factors: namely, the abundance of food; ideal moisture levels and temperature conditions and the many available hiding places.
Restaurants that are open 24 hours have an additional conundrum because the kitchen cannot close for periodic pest-control treatments without incurring a significant loss of revenue.
Wherever there is food, there is the chance of a rat infestation and restaurant owners and employees need to be aware of the risks and how to prevent them.
Rigorous inspection and pest-maintenance are the only solution when it comes to keeping invading rodent pests at bay.
Scientific advancements are consistently producing new, versatile products that can supplement our highly effective integrated pest-control and pest-management programs.
They know how to accommodate the restaurant industry, and often work late at night or very early in the morning after the kitchen has been cleaned by a company janitorial staff, both out of respect for business operations and in order to maximize the effectiveness of treatment applications.
Pestco History And Rodent Control Initiatives
We are a leading provider of both long term and emergency pest-control, pest management and exclusionary solutions services commercial and industrial spaces situated throughout Greater Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.
Family-run, this five-star business is a godsend to enterprises such as: restaurants; hotels; nursing homes; schools and universities; healthcare facilities; salons and spas and office and apartment complexes.
Their integrated rodent pest control program balances conventional baiting and trapping methods with environmental management and pest exclusion strategies. Pestco is the only company of its kind that manufactures the eco-friendly products it employs in every day applications.
Chemicals treatments are not encouraged but when they are necessary, technicians always ensure the safety of the environment and all humans and pets that might be affected.
Technicians first thoroughly inspect an affected structure and then eliminate rodent food and shelter sources by sealing up potential entry points.
This includes foundation cracks, poorly sealed vents, drain pipes, and any other areas of ingress that may not be properly sealed.
Our Complete Facility Care Program
This three-pronged, coordinated hygiene-control initiative offers the ultimate in pest management and control services, environmental odor control and air freshening strategies supplied by Air-Scent International to all commercial and industrial spaces operating in Pittsburgh and western PA.
This vast array of professional services is efficient, cost-effective and highly recommended to restaurant owners and managers.
What Rat Species Are Found in Pittsburgh?
While there are basically three rat species that dominate the Pittsburgh area, only one is usually associated with restaurants.
Deer and Roof Rats are mostly found in barns and attic spaces but the highly aggressive Norway Rat is often the bane of many a Pittsburgh eatery.
It is believed these critters found their way to America as stowaways on board sailing ships around 1775.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, this species was first brought to England from a Norwegian lumber vessel and that’s the source of its name.
This species is not known for its agility and their vision is poor, but they are persistent and have been known to infiltrate structures via openings as small as ½ inch.
Their sharp teeth can chew through almost anything including: metal, concrete, plastic garbage cans, insulation and electrical wires, which often causes fires.
They nest near garbage and breed in basements, under sidewalks and near streams and rivers.
In some Third World countries, it is estimated that Norway rats destroy 15 percent or more of agricultural production every year.
Norway rats are usually brown in color and weigh on average about 11 ounces.
They can grow to be as long as 18 inches at maturity, which includes the tail.
They reproduce rapidly and a female can give birth to up to 22 babies in a single litter.
This is why it is so vital that upon spotting a rat scampering across floors and cupboards, Pittsburgh restaurant owners should immediately contact our pest-control and pest-maintenance specialists at Pestco Professional Services.
Some Interesting Facts About Norway Rats
1. Norway Rats Communicate With Each Other In Different Ways.
This species is known to vocalize as well as visually posture to communicate with one another.
2. Norway Rats Do Not Have Collapsible Skeletons
While young rats do have the ability to slip through very small spaces, Norway rats have skeletons made out of bones and cartilage, just like other mammals.
Large adult rats cannot fit through such apertures.
3. Norway Rats Have Multiple Mates
Both females and males within a specific group have multiple partners.
Females reach sexual maturity around four months and males at three months.
Although breeding does increase during the warmer months of the year, it is not seasonal.
A female can mate again as early as 18 hours after giving birth, and during this six hour period can mate with multiple males as many as 500 times.
They are known to have about seven liters a year.
4. Norway Rat Droppings Are A Half Inch Long
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, a single Norway rat can produce 50 droppings per day.
5. Norway Rats Prefer Foods High In Carbohydrates Or Protein
While their preferred diet consists of cereal grains, meats and fish, nuts, and some types of fruit, they will eat almost anything. including non-food items like soap.
They are specially attracted to wet and dry pet food and food items left in storage and garbage areas offer a fairly balanced diet and satisfies their moisture needs.
6. Norway Rats Live in Burrows
Their burrows are 12 to 18 inches underground, and about 10 inches in diameter. They are easily recognizable by the “rat run” leading to the opening.
Norway rats can burrow through cement foundations, causing major damage to buildings. Concrete barriers can be buried to prevent rats from burrowing under foundations.
Restaurant Closures in Pittsburgh and Allegheny Counties
Eateries face a nightmare when dealing with a rat infestation when it hits the evening news.
Once voted by Pittsburgh City Paper as one of the top Asian restaurants and twice named in 2012 and 2013 by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of the city’s best restaurants, Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, was forced to close a few years ago after the Allegheny Health Department discovered a significant rodent infestation and a host of other shocking health code violations.
The inspection report indicated the presence of a dead rodent inside a cooking vessel and old droppings found on a wooden platform used to transport goods and between boxes of food and all along the walls of the basement.
Sun Penang, an Asian restaurant in Squirrel Hill that delivers boxed lunches to nearby college campuses, was once hit with a consumer alert issued by the Allegheny County Health Department because of numerous health code violations.
First of all, the restaurant was operating without a permit, and foods were being prepared and transported without regard to proper holding temperatures.
Other violations included: the presence of a rat’s nest on storage shelves near a stand mixer and water heater, droppings and gnawed bags of corn starch on carpeted stairs leading from the dining room to an upstairs restroom.
The Allegheny County Health Department also identified some college dining halls and cafeterias as zones with severe rat problems.
An inspection revealed that the food storage areas of Pitt’s Cathedral Cafe were teeming with evidence of rodents. Inspectors observed a “bag of chewed sushi rice with droppings and “chewed sugar packages and old nesting material” inside a cream dispensing cabinet.
This dining facility was cited for multiple health violations.
According to Food Inspections Manager, Donna Scharding: “There would have to be at least two violations that are considered very high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and they would have to be significant…and lie within what we call the danger zone.”
If you are a Pittsburgh restaurant owner or manager and rodents have infested your establishment, call our teams at Pestco immediately and don’t despair.
We’re here to help!
Final thought on rats: By gnawing through a dike, even a rat can drown a nation~ Edmund Burke
Photo Credits: Pixabay