Managing Common Pests in Commercial Kitchens


Behind every great meal is a commercial kitchen that works tirelessly to prepare and serve safe and quality food. Unfortunately, pests can find their way and pose a danger to everyone, both in safety and hygiene. Explore the most common pests found in commercial kitchens and get practical advice on how to manage them so your kitchen continues to operate smoothly.

Understanding pest and their habits 

These are the pests that may infiltrate your kitchens, so learn about their appearance and behaviours to prevent a possible infestation.


  • carry bacteria and harmful microorganisms that can cause food poisoning and other illnesses
  • reddish brown or dark brown
  • have a flattened oval body
  • most active at night
  • hide in dark and warm areas (e.g., behind appliances, under the sink)
  • attracted to warm, moist, and dark places
  • emit a distinctive musty odour


  • can contaminate foods and surfaces with their faeces and urine
  • typically brown or grey
  • have a pointed snout, small ears, and a long tail
  • primarily active at night
  • attracted to food, water, and shelter
  • hide in various places (e.g., in storage rooms and under appliances)
  • may leave gnaw marks on surfaces or packaging


  • pose a risk, too, to food safety
  • carry bacteria and harmful microorganisms that can cause food poisoning and other illnesses
  • usually small and have wings
  • attracted to food, moisture, and waste
  • found hovering around or resting on surfaces

Stored product pests

  • infest stored food products like grains, nuts, and dried fruits
  • can contaminate food with their larvae and faeces
  • usually small and have a hard outer shell
  • attracted to stored food products and cracks and crevices

Health risks posed by these pests

Here are some of the health risks associated with these kitchen pests:

  • Rodents can cause salmonella, hantavirus, and other infections.
  • Cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergic reactions and cause diseases like salmonella, E. coli, and dysentery.
  • Flies carry diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.
  • Stored product pests can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Knowing these dangers, you must consider pest prevention and control as a top priority, as they may adversely endanger the quality of products you serve to your customers and your business reputation.

Common entry points for pests in commercial kitchens

To prevent them from entering your premises, you should know the common entry points for each of these pests. This is the first step in preventing a potential infestation.

  1. Pests can easily slip through the gaps in door frames and window sills. They can also infiltrate the area when doors and windows are left open either for ventilation or delivery.
  2. Gaps and cracks in the kitchen structure make way for pests. They may be caused by vents, wires, and pipes.
  3. Pests can also enter through open pipes, gaps, or cracks in the plumbing and drainage systems.
  4. Pests can also enter through unsealed vents and ducts, especially if they are connected to an exhaust fan or an exterior vent.
  5. Deliveries and waste disposal areas make it possible for pests to enter commercial kitchens, either through openings in the loading dock or neglected food wastes.

Preventing pests from entering the kitchen

You need a multi-pronged approach to ensure your kitchen is safe from pests, including regular inspections, good hygiene practices, and proper maintenance procedures.

  • Seal all entry points, including gaps and openings you can find.
  • Sanitise all kitchen utensils, equipment, and surfaces.
  • Dispose of food waste and trash properly.
  • Store food items in airtight containers.
  • Place them in designated storage areas.
  • Inspect your establishment regularly.
  • Educate your staff on topics like identifying and preventing pest infestations.

Indicators of pest infestation

Here are some of the most common signs to look out for so you can quickly identify if pests have infiltrated your kitchen:

  1. Droppings near food sources, on kitchen surfaces, in cabinets, and near garbage areas
  2. Gnawed or damaged food packaging
  3. Nesting materials such as fabric and paper
  4. Greasy marks or smudges along walls, baseboards, and countertops
  5. Musty, oily, or urine-like odours
  6. Live or dead pests

Steps to take when you detect pests

If you saw any of the indicators stated above in your commercial kitchen, here is what you have to do.

  1. Identify the pest and the extent of the infestation.
  2. Quarantine the affected area.
  3. Contact professional commercial kitchen cleaning or pest control services.
  4. Inform everyone about the infestation for changes in plans and routines.
  5. Clean and sanitised the area after professional pest treatment.
  6. Implement pest prevention measures.

Remember to be vigilant and take proactive measures because pest infestation can be costly and harmful. Posing this kind of risk through neglect would significantly impact your business.

Best practices for maintaining a pest-free commercial kitchen

Take a look at these best practices for a pest-free commercial kitchen, ensuring the success of your business in the long run. These practices may include some tips mentioned in pest entry prevention, but it is better to see them in one list for a bird’s eye view of what to do or follow.

  1. Seal all potential entry points.
  2. Keep your kitchen clean always.
  3. Clean up food debris and spills immediately.
  4. Use airtight containers as food storage and keep them off the floor.
  5. Discard garbage and food waste as soon as possible.
  6. Schedule regular cleaning and sanitation of high-touch and high-traffic areas.
  7. Train all your staff on good hygiene and pest prevention.
  8. Repair plumbing leaks and water damage immediately.
  9. Inspect incoming food shipments thoroughly.
  10. Keep supply and equipment storage away from food storage and preparation areas.
  11. Always look for signs of pest infestation.
  12. Come up with a pest control plan and implement it strictly.
  13. Consider proper lighting in the kitchen to discourage pests from entering.
  14. Use screens and air curtains on your doors and windows.
  15. Engage commercial kitchen cleaning services and professional pest control services whenever necessary.


Managing common pests in commercial kitchens is vital for keeping your business a safe space for everyone, not only clients but also your workers. Pests can affect the quality of food, employee productivity, and brand reputation. Thus, it is imperative to follow the best practices and master the signs of pest presence at work.

One of the best practices to consider is engaging the services of a professional pest control and commercial kitchen cleaning company. Commercial kitchen cleaning services ensure that your commercial kitchen is compliant with the set cleaning standards, keeping these pests at bay, or a pest control firm to cover the pest control work if you fail to identify the signs of pest presence.

Don’t know where to begin? Ask us today for commercial kitchen cleaning services you might need.

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