Storage for a restaurant is typically not a priority, but definitely a necessity. From dishware to cleaning supplies and dry goods to frozen goods, everything must go somewhere. If not stored properly, these items will attract or hide pests.
Steps to minimize pest risk via storage can include:
In all areas, reduce clutter. Cockroaches and rodents are cryptobiotic, which means they prefer to stay hidden. If we reduce the clutter, we reduce hiding places for them. A good shelving system and storage bins can greatly reduce clutter.
Use sealed containers to store dry ingredients in. Flour, pasta, spices, etc. are best preserved in thick plastic or metal containers that easily close and keep pests out. Clear ones allow for a visual inspection of infestation, vital for finding stored product pests, which will typically be in the bottom inch of a bulk bin containing peanuts, flour, spices, cocoa, or other dry goods. Rodents will gnaw through packages, so don’t assume that just because a package is sealed that the food is safe within, transfer it to a sturdy plastic or metal container.
Keep food on shelving racks that keep it at least 6 inches off the ground. This allows for cleaning underneath the storage, eliminates a hiding place for pests, and makes it less accessible for pests.
Keep shelving racks far enough away from the wall so that the wall can be cleaned, or have movable racks to allow for cleaning under and behind the area. This will also allow your pest management provider room for inspection and placement of monitoring and control devices.
Use shelving and storage containers that are easily cleaned. Stay away from shelving with cracks and crevices that collect debris, or hollow legs that hide debris and pests. Metal or plastic shelving is typically much easier to clean than wood, which will soak up spilt food.
Hang cleaning tools (mops, brooms, dusters, etc.) from the wall. When resting on the ground or in buckets, these tools provide excellent pest harborage, hiding the pests and providing them food that was previously cleaned up.
Discard mop water and sanitation bucket water regularly, when left forgotten in a mop room, they attract flies.
Use open cubbies for shoes and personal gear that are easily inspected for pest presence.
Storage areas often do not get the structural and sanitational care that the rest of the, more public, facility receives. For this reason, pest entry points are often found here. Ensure that your pest management provider is looking in storage areas and closets.