Canadian Pizza Magazine

Prevent these 4 pest hot spots at your pizzeria this winter

By Alice Sinia, PhD   

Features Business and Operations Health & Safety Premises

Pests can quickly establish residence in wall voids, ceilings and under floorboard, so sealing any visible cracks, openings or crevices is crucial. Photo: bildlove / adobe stock

As the temperatures drop into the winter, pests will be looking for food, water and shelter from the cold in order to survive. As long as they find these three basic survival needs, pests will keep returning all season long. One of the best ways to prevent pests from discovering new sheltering spots is to know where in your pizzeria they are most likely to hide. Below are the top four hot spots where you’ll likely find pests in winter, as well as how to keep these areas pest-free all season.

1. Perimeter and roof
These areas can be challenging areas for keeping pests out, as they are large, broad spaces and can be out of sight or concealed. Rodents, spiders, ants and cockroaches will find very small spaces to use as their entry points. Cracks in the building’s exterior, worn down door and window seals, damaged screens, doorways or windows, unscreened utility vents and other types of openings in the building, or even damaged areas on the roof such as missing tiles or shingles all roll out the welcome mat for pests looking for ways into your pizzeria. Ensure your pest management plan remains active throughout the winter, as this will help you stay ahead of new pest activity and enable you to swiftly rectify problem areas when they arise. Also schedule a pre-winter inspection or assessment to identify entry pressure points and rectify accordingly. When these pests find their way inside, they can quickly establish residence in wall voids, ceilings and under floorboard, so sealing any visible cracks, openings or crevices is crucial.

2. Dumpsters
As one of the most common culprits for pest hotspots, staying on top of a maintenance routine to preventively keep pests out and away from the garbage area is crucial. Once pests find a suitable food source, it is harder to control their populations so staying proactive is a must. Dumpsters should be placed as far away from your building as possible as to not attract pests near. Your waste management company should pick up and empty your dumpsters at least twice a week to prevent food waste from sitting and being an attractant for too long. Ensure the area around and underneath the dumpster is regularly hosed down to keep organic material from leaking out of the dumpster and collecting on the ground underneath it.

3. Storefront areas
As the area where your patrons will be ordering, waiting and potentially dining, it is crucial for this area to remain pest-free. However, with the handling and consuming of food and standing wastebaskets around, as well as the constant opening and closing of the front door, this can quickly become an attractive area for pests. Ensure trash cans are emptied at least once a day, and bins are rinsed out at least once a week to prevent the buildup of leaking organic matter from trash bags. Using a commercial door closer at the top of your entryway to ensure the door fully closes behind each patron coming in and out is an efficient way to confirm that the door stays fully closed. Install LED lights where appropriate to capture flying pests that may have made their way inside your storefront. Finally, regularly sweep the area throughout the day to ensure crumbs on the floor are removed and not left for a pest’s next meal.

4. Storage areas
Areas that store food products are going to be a top concern for keeping pests out during the winter months. Keep all stored food products in airtight containers, at least a quarter of a metre off the ground and away from exterior walls – this helps keep them inaccessible to pests. Installing insect monitors, pheromone traps and lures in these areas can be great for early pest detection. It is also important to inspect all stored dry food goods, such a sugars, flours, seeds and grains when they are delivered. 

Be on the lookout for webbing, trails, gnaw marks, pest droppings (usually small, round and dark for rodents), and any bag rips or damage to packaging as these could all be signs of a pest infestation in transit. Impacted products should not be accepted or put in your stored food areas as they could quickly contaminate other stored foods.

When it comes to keeping pests out of your pizzeria this wintertime, knowing where to look for them, what attracts them and how to proactively keep them out are all key steps in your pest management plan. Remain vigilant in monitoring for new or increased pest activity to keep your business safe and pest-free through the winter.

Alice Sinia, PhD, is quality assurance manager of regulatory/lab services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. With more than 20 years of experience, she manages the quality assurance laboratory for Orkin Canada and performs analytical entomology as well as provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at or visit

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