I was conducting a routine servicing of one of our commercial accounts, a restaurant in Manasquan, NJ. When performing a servicing, I always first talk to the manager to inquire about any troublesome problems in order to help me focus my inspection. The manager expressed concern that he had seen an increase in small flies in the kitchen area (of course, seeing ANY small flies is a cause for concern!). I let him know that I’d get to the root fo the fly problem during my inspection and uncover any structural or sanitation deficiencies causing issues.
With flashlight in hand and knee pads on, i got down at “insect level” on the floor. When dealing with insects, superficial inspections don’t cut it. As the saying goes, you have to get down and dirty! I looked under and behind all of the kitchen equipment. Small flies breed in dark, hidden areas where there is accumulated decaying organic matter and food debris. Common fly breeding grounds are gaps and cracks in tile and inside drains. In busy commercial kitchens, food debris can be easily pushed underneath equipment wherein goes unnoticed and rots. Restaurants with lackadaisical cleaning and poor enforcement of sanitation protocols can lead to severe fly issues very quickly. Also, it is critical to periodically clean the floor drains. Decaying organic matter gunks up the drains and becomes a fly breeding ground. Using a good enzyme-based microbial breaks down organic matter in the drain, preventing build-up and keeping flies from a food bonanza that makes their populations blossom.
During my inspection, I found several areas of concern around some drains, some garbage build-up, and tiles that were missing or loose. I showed the manager these sanitation issues. He found them to be unacceptable and would make sure that all of them were timely and properly addressed. He was also going to have the tile area fixed. Once these breeding grounds are eliminated, so will the troublesome fly problems. For restaurants, it’s helpful to have a pest control technician make periodic inspections to have insect and rodent problems identified and corrected — before they are noticed by customers or health inspectors!