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How Your Pest Management Professional Can be Your Maitre-"Green"

By Patrick Copps

When implementing green initiatives at your establishment, make sure pest management is on the menu. Don't let misconceptions of chemical treatments put a bad taste in your mouth - pest management should be part of your green program.

Intense interest in food safety has brought food handling and service practices under scrutiny, prompting questions about how "green" those practices are. Now when customers ask about green, they're thinking of more than the vegetable of the day.

New technologies have advanced green pest management methods and can be highly effective when incorporated as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. IPM is an environmentally friendly approach that focuses on prevention, relying on non-chemical solutions, such as removing the conditions that attract pests to your establishment and stringent sanitation practices. With IPM, targeted chemical treatments are used only as a last resort.

Front of the House

While greeting guests arriving at your restaurant, make sure that pests stay "al fresco."

  • Install a 30-inch gravel strip around the immediate perimeter of the facility to deter pests. Rodents avoid open areas, and smaller pests won't attempt to cross the rocky terrain.

  • Maintain the landscaping and trim vegetation near the building to eliminate hiding places and help prevent pest access.

  • Install smart timers to prevent overwatering. Preventing moisture accumulation at the perimeter can help limit pest activity in your building.

  • Seal any holes or cracks in your building or around utility penetrations with weather-resistant sealant. Openings as small as 1/16 inch can allow cockroaches into your facility.

  • Check door seals and sweeps at least monthly and replace them as soon as wear is noted.

Back of the House

The kitchen is a frenzy of activity - chopping, dicing, sautéing. But after the last dish is served, make sure that you give sanitation its just desserts.

  • Line and seal all trash cans, and remove waste daily or more often - and never let food waste set overnight. Even small amounts of food waste can satisfy less-than-picky pest palates.

  • Clean up spills immediately and fix leaks because moisture attracts both insects and rodents.

  • Scrub drains with a brush and an organic cleaning solution containing naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes to eliminate the grease and grime on which pests feed.

At Your (Green) Service

The service in your restaurant should be effortless and invisible, like these tricks of the trade from your "maitre'green" that keep pest control under wraps.

    Fly lights
  • Fly Lights: Ultraviolet lights attract flying pests to a non-toxic sticky board inside entrances to food preparation and waste disposal areas.

  • Pheromone Monitors: Utilizing synthetic versions of insect pheromones to attract pests to a sticky board, these traps are effective against stored-product pests.

  • Non-volatile baits: Non-volatile baits, such as gels or bait pucks, contain chemical compounds that do not become airborne. Baits provide targeted and effective treatment applications.

Like the final flourish before the plate is delivered to the table, make sure to garnish your sustainability practices with a little bit of green pest management.

Patrick Copps is Technical Services Manager for Orkin's Pacific Division. A Board Certified Entomologist in urban and industrial entomology, Mr. Copps has more than 35 years experience in the industry. For more information, email Mr. Copps at or visit

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