According to the World Health Organization, flies can transmit over 65 different diseases. All these diseases have direct impact on the health of your customers and staff.
Flies are known to feed on decaying matter, rotten food, and faeces. These often contain parasites, viruses, and bacteria that can cause serious illness. Flies spread diseases by regurgitating a liquid that contains their saliva and digestive enzymes into your food.
This fluid helps them break down solid food into a liquid they can ingest. But this fluid also contains pathogens that can make humans sick. Flies can also transmit diseases by urinating or dropping their faeces into foods or onto kitchen counter top.
In the restaurant business, a good reputation is everything. No matter how tasty your food is, if you can’t keep the flies out, nobody will want to eat at your restaurant. The existence of flies alone will make customers doubt the hygiene in your kitchen and the restaurant as a whole.
No restaurant owner wants that because it will ultimately lead to the loss of customers, revenue, and in some severe cases, the loss of the business.
Also, if employees keep getting sick, they won’t give 100 percent to the establishment and this could lead to additional concerns. A fly infestation can easily spread to other nearby establishments. If the fly problem gets out of hand, it could even lead to the closure of surrounding businesses.
Types of Flies That Cause Problems in Restaurants
There are three types of flies that usually cause problems in restaurants. House Flies, Drain Flies and Fruit Flies.
They are the larger of the common fly pests in restaurants and are black. House flies feed on a wide variety of food, carcasses, excrement and human food. A female can lay hundreds of eggs that only require less than a day to hatch in the warm conditions found indoors.
According to reports, on the average, house flies can live for about a month and can grow from egg to adult fly in just over a week.
House flies are major disease carriers and can pose a serious threat to our health. These flies lay their eggs in unclean areas, garbage cans, bins, or other unclean areas behind appliances where food scraps or grease can accumulate over time.
Since they can easily make their way indoors, getting them out tend to require the installation of fly lights and traps. A licensed exterminator can in some cases apply a localized insecticide spray.
Drain flies are darker in colour with seemingly larger wings. These flies can be found throughout the year indoors and are always common in areas near drains, places like kitchens, bathrooms or basements. Drain flies mainly feed on organic material and sewage.
Drain flies also breed very fast and can go through a generation in only a couple of weeks. Note that their breeding grounds are your drains where they deposit their eggs that grow into larvae. To deal with drain flies, you have to focus on treating their breeding grounds.
This requires the use of special biodegradable foam products and wire brushes to eliminate their larvae from all drains in a restaurant. Such a treatment will kill the next generation. As far as existing adult drain flies, special fly traps and lights will make sure any adult flies are eliminated.
Fruit flies are smaller than houseflies with reddish eyes. They are darker in colour and can appear to be light brown in colour. These flies are common during the warmer months of the year but can sustain a population throughout the year indoors.
Fruit flies are well attracted by decaying fruit and vegetable matter in trash cans as well as fermenting products such as beer and wine residue in glasses. These flies reproduce rapidly and a small problem can easily turn into an infestation.
Female fruit flies can lay hundreds of eggs in a very brief period of time and it only takes about 24 hours for the eggs to hatch into larvae, and only a few days later a new generation of flies emerges from the tiny maggots. Eliminating their breeding grounds and installing fruit fly traps are the best way to deal with the problem.
Different Ways to Get Rid of Flies in a Restaurant
These tiny pests may only live for up to a month, but if too many are around they can cause serious damage to the reputation of your business in their short lives. Below are top 10 ways to keep them away from your restaurant.
Use Preventive Measures
Keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible will help reduce the number of flies that gain entry to the establishment.
Fitting all doors and windows with fly screens is also a good practice, but this can be somewhat impractical as restaurants tend to have frequent traffic both in the front and back of the house. Consider installing a screen door at least in the back of the house so that it limits the number of insects.
Making sure that all floors and work surfaces in the kitchen are as clean as possible may help to make the area less enticing to flies, but all these precautions only succeed in reducing the number of flies that get into the kitchen; so how to get rid of flies in a restaurant is an important decision that every restaurant manager will have to face sooner or later.
Always eliminate small puddles, grease and rotting organic materials that can be found behind appliances and under work surface areas.
Make sure that your employees scrub the kitchen counters, tables, and chopping boards regularly. Keep indoor and outdoor trash cans covered. Quickly and properly dispose of your customers’ food because this will be the first thing to attract flies. Wipe down and sweep under the tables every time a customer leaves.
Use Fly Repellents
Fly repellents are a wonderful way to keep the flies at bay in a restaurant. Spray the repellent on doors, windows, and in any cracks that the flies can use to get into your restaurant or kitchen. The scent will keep them away so you won’t have to worry about a fly infestation entering your establishment.
Apart from commercial repellents, you can also plant herbs that repel flies. Put them around your restaurant or on the windowsills.
Treat their Breeding Grounds
Floor and sink drains are the most common and major breeding ground for many types of flies found in restaurants. Bacterial treatments can be used to eliminate grease, fats and oils completely wiping out fly harbourage areas in hard to get places.
Insect Glue Traps
Glue traps are a great alternative to chemical sprays in your restaurant. Some of them work by emitting a UV light that draws flies in and then traps them when they land on the sticky inner surface. Others are coated with an adhesive solution that smells sweet to the flies and attracts them to their doom. Pick up a freestanding glue trap for your window or a subtle wall-mounted trap to blend with your restaurant exterior.
Fly traps can be quite effective as well. They can be installed in areas with no available electrical outlet like garbage rooms or storage rooms or placed discreetly in food preparation areas. They come in various forms and sizes. Fly bag traps, sly strip traps, small plastic fruit fly traps and so forth.
Note that since every situation is different and given that there are different traps for different species of flies, it would be best to talk to an expert about your problem.
Bug zappers are known to attract insects to its internal light, and then kill them with a jolt of electricity when they fly into the machine. Flies and other bugs are then dropped into the easy-to-clean tray, making zappers a sanitary way to take care of pests.
Note that since they may make a quiet noise when flies are zapped, these are best to use away from customers enjoying their meals. Mount one inside your restaurant, or leave it some meters away to keep bugs at bay.
Install Fans and Odour Management Systems
Another trick you can use to keep the flies away is to invest in cooling fans. These will keep the air circulating and stop the flies from landing on your food. Installing mesh netting in restaurants with open doorways and windows will really help control the entry of flies.
The mesh will keep the insects out while your customers remain cool thanks to the open windows. You can also use odour management systems as part of your waste management strategy. Odour management technology can be an effective way to deter pests from a variety of operations.
Today, there are systems available that are compact, cost-efficient, easy-to-maintain, and utilize environmentally friendly odour neutralizers that work to eliminate odours, rather than just mask them.
Note that this can be suitably applied to some restaurants because the food, equipment and products are able to resist high temperatures. The room temperature process may take about 126 °F to 131 °F and increase 5 to 10 °F per hour. Eventually, insects die due to dehydration and it damages some of the proteins and key enzymes throughout the heat treatment process. The heat treatment process can be held for 8 to 30 hours a day. This method benefits your operations as it prevents production loss and reducing downtime. In addition, the heat treatment is able to eliminate the insects in entirety because it destroys all insects’ life stages.
Contact a professional
If you’ve done everything you can think of to keep these annoying pests out of your restaurant and the fly problem persists, you should consider contacting a pest control expert. They won’t only help you get rid of the flies but will also asses your business and give you tips on how to keep the flies away in the future.
A fly infestation poses a serious hygiene risk. Unfortunately, flies are attracted to conditions found in restaurants, where they can do the most damage.
Sanitation is imperative in preventing flies from infesting a restaurant kitchen. Keep trash pails, drains and drain traps clean. Counter spaces and chopping blocks should be wiped down regularly. All food should remain refrigerated when it is not being used. Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible to prevent fly entry.
Screening vents, doors and windows may also help to prevent fly infestations. Sometimes large fans, called “air curtains” are effective at keeping flies out of restaurants.