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Q&A: Bayer’s Gordon Morrison talks about pest control

5 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Pests are the bane of the restaurant business; a single cockroach can drive away a herd of customers. We spoke with Gordon Morrison, market manager for environmental science at Bayer, the  parent company of Maxforce, about how to get rid of pests and prevent infestation in the first place.

Why and how should restaurants work with a pest management professional?

Keeping a restaurant pest-free is essential to a restaurateur’s business. In fact, studies show that customers who have a positive experience in an establishment will tell an average of three individuals, but those who are unsatisfied or have had a negative experience will share it with 11 people. This means that consumers are almost four times more likely to inform friends, family members, co-workers and even strangers if a restaurant has a cockroach or fly problem. Therefore, a restaurant owner’s bottom line depends on a clean, pest-free environment.

Communication back and forth between restaurant staff, owners and pest management professionals is essential, and pest control works best when it’s a team effort. Consider giving your PMP some time on the program at a routine staff meeting to review pest prevention strategies with your team. Choose a staff member to be the primary contact for the PMP, which will help ensure proper communication and follow-through on action items. Also, have employees record on a sheet when and where they see pest problems to help your professional save time and avoid missing any problem areas.

What are some easy tips that restaurant workers can do daily to prevent and control pests?

Both pesticide and non-pesticide control techniques are important factors in an integrated pest management program. First and foremost, ensure that your restaurant’s sanitation is up to par: empty trash containers frequently, use trash cans with tight-fitting lids and clean them on a regular basis.

Keep doors and windows closed and confirm that screens are in good condition and fit tightly; also be sure to seal cracks, crevices and entry points for flies and cockroaches around your restaurant’s perimeter. Reduce clutter to eliminate pest hiding places and to provide better access for your PMP to inspect and treat your restaurant. Lastly, keep countertops, food preparation areas and sinks as clean as possible, and be sure to clean pots and pans thoroughly, as residual odors can attract flies and other pests.

Another important factor of pest control is to check incoming goods: oftentimes, pests will hitch a ride inside deliveries of food and supplies. Ask your PMP for a non-invasive pest control solution, such as a fly bait that can be applied outdoors near the dumpster areas where flies live and breed. Baits are ideal for keeping pests away from food-handling stations, and outdoor bait applications will help prevent flies from entering the kitchen. Inside an establishment, PMPs can discreetly control cockroaches by placing bait stations in key locations where pests like to hide and can apply gel baits to cracks and crevices.

What are the latest innovations for controlling common restaurant pests, such as cockroaches, flies and ants?

Maxforce FC Magnum Roach Gel is the silver bullet for roach control and provides the fastest and best overall control.

Maxforce fly baits, however, are Bayer’s fastest growing products in the commercial food service industry. Maxforce technology revolutionized cockroach control in the 1990s, and now our fly baits are doing the same for control of house flies. Maxforce Granular Fly Bait is a ready-to-use formulation for outdoor application that controls flies before they get inside; it’s ideal for use around dumpsters and outside dining areas to help stop flies that may be bothering your patrons. Maxforce Fly Spot Bait is our newer, more versatile product that is labeled for use indoors as well as outdoors. Both Maxforce Granular Fly Bait and Maxforce Fly Spot Bait kill house flies in about 60 seconds.

What are some real-life stories and how  was the infestation was handled?

We were recently contacted by Robby Robinson of CertiPro Pest Solutions in Harvest, Ala., who is spearheading tornado relief efforts in his community. Robby helped set up a food pantry and community kitchen at Harvest Baptist Church, and volunteers were forced to keep the doors open to provide ventilation and light when power was down, which led to a significant house fly problem. Robby got in touch with one of our field sales representatives requesting product donations, and we were happy to contribute a case of Maxforce Granular Fly Bait to help deal with the situation.

While this doesn’t involve a traditional restaurant, Robby and other volunteers continue to feed victims, first responders and utility crews every day so it is essential to manage the fly problem quickly. Robby has reported that the situation has improved greatly since using the bait. With the significant amount of devastation in Alabama, we were happy to do whatever we could to help Robby’s efforts and ensure that the church’s activity center is fly-free in the future.

Photo: Bayer’s Gordon Morrison