If fruit flies suddenly take over your new restaurant's kitchen, you may try to eliminate the pests with bug sprays and other chemical warfare. But that may be the wrong action to take. Your restaurant's reputation and safety may be at risk if chemicals get into your food supplies or harm your customers and employees. One of the best actions you may take to eliminate the fruit flies in your kitchen is to implement an integrated pest management plan. Integrated pest management is a preventative measure used to eliminate the things that attract fruit flies in your establishment. Here's how fruit flies infest kitchens and what integrated pest management can do to get rid of them for good.
What Are Fruit Flies and Where Do They Come From?
Fruit flies can infest residential homes, schools and even restaurants when exposed to the right conditions. The flies consume fermenting, rotting or ripening foods and other organic matter, including fruits and vegetables. Fermentation occurs when the sugars and other types of carbohydrates in food convert to a liquid, such as acid or alcohol. The fermented food gives off an aroma fruit flies find attractive enough to consume or lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch into larvae, the pests consume the fermented liquids produced by the rotting and ripening food. It's possible for the larvae to become adults within a week of hatching.
You may see the flies in or around the garbage cans, garbage disposals and floor drains of the kitchen. Some flies may swarm close to your grease trap, which may contain bits of vegetables and other foods. If you use mops and buckets of water to clean your floors, the flies may lay eggs in these places if they smell like rotting or fermenting food.
Some sources report that although fruit flies don't bite, the pests can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that may harm your health. Because the flies can travel to different parts of the building, they may spread the contaminants to other items you, your employees or customers use, including the glasses and utensils.
Spraying the adult flies with harsh, hazardous chemical sprays may not be the best solution. The chemicals may create toxic odors in the restaurant that can cause respiratory problems, such as sneezing and wheezing. The chemicals may also coat the surfaces of your tables, dishes and utensils you use to prepare food, which may make your customers ill if they consume the contaminated food.
To avoid the issues above, it's a good idea that you treat the fruit flies through integrated pest management instead of with chemicals.
How Does Integrated Pest Management Work?
Integrated pest management is designed to locate, monitor and prevent the spread of pests in establishments through detailed plans. Depending on which pest control company you use, your plan may begin with isolating and eliminating the sources of the fruit flies. For instance, instead of leaving your wet mops out to air dry, you wash and dry the heads immediately after every use. You might also have your grease traps emptied regularly to help control the scent of rotting food in the kitchen.
Washing your fruits and vegetables immediately after purchasing them may help reduce the flies in your restaurant. Some fresh produce carry the eggs and larvae of fruit flies, which may hatch later and infect the kitchen. This step may also help you locate and discard rotting or fermenting produce before it attracts fruit flies.
Also, storing fresh fruits and vegetables in the appropriate settings and temperatures may be something your integrated pest management plan includes. The employees can store the food as soon as they wash and clean them. The employees should also record the dates and times they complete their tasks on a sign-off sheet, which you may examine at the end of the week. If the employees follow the plan correctly, you may see fewer or no more fruit flies in your kitchen.
For more help on getting rid of the fruit flies in your restaurant with an integrated pest management plan, contact a commercial pest control service like Tri-County Termite & Pest Control.