Restaurants with flies filling the dining area where the customers are eating is a big turn off. It also becomes a health hazard when there are so many flies that they start appearing in the food. Too many flies can also cause a failed health inspection, and possibly a shutdown of the restaurant entirely.
The flies normally start appearing in the late spring until mid fall.
Here we will cover what restaurants do to keep the flies away, and which ways are the most effective at keeping them at bay.
Flies end up in every restaurant, but every restaurant is different when it comes to the number of flies, and how they handle them. The architecture of the building used by the restaurant means that different methods can have a lesser or greater impact than others when handling flies.
- Cleaning the restaurant. Keeping the restaurant clean is the most common and effective way to keep flies out. They will not only keep the inside of the building clean, but also the surrounding areas outside the restaurant. The trash in the restaurant is taken to the dumpster frequently, which is kept closed and away from the restaurant. This prevents the flies from breeding in the building and returning to the store.
- Vector system fly trap. This is commonly used in restaurants because most are FDA approved for usage in the kitchen area where the food is being prepped and made. It is an electrical system that uses ultraviolet light to lure and trap flies. They are one of the best tools used in restaurants to minumize a growing fly population.
- Chemicals. Using bleach and sprays designed specifically for deterring or killing house flies is an uncommon method used by restaurants to get rid of flies. They can be effective, but not reliable during business hours since the chemicals can easily come in contact with the food. They are used before or after store hours, which doesn’t do much for any flies that appear throughout the day. The most effective way to use them are on the source of places where the flies are coming from.
- Indoor fly traps. Fly strips and other fly traps are used by some restaurants, but most are not FDA approved. If they are spotted in the kitchen area near the food with dead flies on them, the restaurant can get penalized and shutdown by the health department. For this reason, restaurants don’t use them, and instead invest in a vector system fly trap instead of fly strips.
- Keeping food refrigerated. Keeping all food in the commercial coolers until they are ready to be prepped and served to the customer is another way that restaurants keep flies away. It prevents any flies from coming into contact with any of the food.
- Keeping the food covered. When restaurants keep their food covered as much as possible, they are preventing flies from coming into contact with it and increasing in numbers.
- Keeping the bottom of all trash bins clean. The bottom of trash bins filled with thrown away food is a nesting ground for flies. Removing the trash out of the restaurant completely and cleaning any messes made by torn bags in the bottom of trash cans is how restaurants keep their entire building from being overrun with flies.
- Air Curtain. An air curtain is an electrical system that is placed above a door at the entry point that blows air downwards that prevents flies from passing through. They are used in restaurants at drive-thru windows and the front and back door of the restaurant.
How Do Restaurants Fix Fly Problems?
If a restaurant is overrun with flies, the first thing they will have to do is clean. Keeping countertops, tables, and all equipment and appliances used for making food clean throughout the day is a good start. Dishes need to be cleaned frequently instead of left throughout the day to pile up. Flies will find any easy food source from the left over dishes with food on them. Having a dishwasher where the dishes can be placed in is very helpful.
Clean all drains and every sink and drain that the food is washed down thoroughly on a regularly basis.
If regular cleaning is maintained, then the next thing to do is find the source of where they are coming from. If possible, keep the dumpster, grease bins, and all trash as far away from the restaurant as possible. Dumpsters can breed thousands of flies during hot weather. Killing and controlling the flies in the restaurant will be hard, or near impossible if the dumpster is too close to the restaurant. Even if the doors and windows are kept close, they will just wait and try to enter when they are opened.
The trash inside of the restaurant needs to be removed frequently. Trash should never be left in trash bins at the end of the shift, and never at close. It only takes a day for fly eggs to hatch. The trash can is the most common place in a restaurant for a fly infestation, considering that all other foods are properly stored away.
Make sure that all foods are stored away in coolers below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Flies are cold-blooded, so they will avoid cold areas and move slowly/stop moving in the cold. Even if a fly managed to get in a commercial cooler, they will cease all actions eventually because of the cold environment.
Make sure that all food is sealed and stored away out of their reach, or you risk them breeding in what is left out for them.
Keep all doors and windows closed as much as possible. Do not leave the back door of the restaurant open, especially since it usually is the door closest to the dumpster area. If it is not possible to prevent access from the outside to the inside of the restaurant because of the frequency of customers, then invest in setting up air curtain/air doors.
If the infestation is inside the restaurant, find the source and take care of it immediately. Use methods to kill the flies that will not interfere and contaminate the dishes and food used to served to the customers. Remember that flies annoy customers, and health inspectors can possibly shut down restaurants for fly infestations.