Dinning Al Pestco
By Gil Bloom president, ACE Entomologist Standard Pest Management
Summer is here and the time is right for dining in the street but in NYC 2020 that may include a host of four and six footed freeloaders.
While the importance of restaurant reopening is significant to both the economy and psyche of New Yorkers the potential for increasing the food water and harborage for pests is likewise of significance. Especially if best practice sanitation guidelines and adherence are absent, which seems to be increasingly the case.
Roaches love wood, the material used for most barriers and surfaces, they are thigmotactic and love to shelter in gaps, leaving their fecal material which makes it smell like home. Smaller filth flies excel in moist breeding areas and everybody loves a dirty summer street with no access for street sweepers due to makeshift platforms and barriers. As for mosquitoes, both Culex, the vector of WNV, and Albopictus, possible vectors of Zika, small amounts of standing water near people are ideal. Mice need as little as 3 grams of food a day and rats an ounce of food and of water. And everyone loves a spilled fermented beverage.
Imagine the consequences given our current state of affairs, though not necessarily the fault of one particular food establishment (some take sanitation seriously, some don’t) the overall effect on our already high pest populations should be of concern to someone. Out of sight should not be out of mind when food polluted streams enter catch basins adding to the abundance of American roaches that have already been moving up into buildings but also increasing the number of potential breeding sites for vectoring mosquitoes. While professional pest control practices will assist in control they are limited by regulations, sunlight, heat, rain and inaccessible harborage.
So, as we move food service into the street leaving the doors open, streets dirty with increased pest opportunities, it is just a matter of time till our dining Al fresco experience may become a dining Al Pestco (sic) experience. Sanitation matters when it comes to public health pest management.
REPRINTED FROM The New York State Pest Management Association Journal July 2020