As states and cities across the U.S. begin to relax stay-at-home orders, bars and restaurants are transitioning from take-out only to dine-in options. While those lucky enough to remain open in any capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic may be on top of potential pest issues, others may find heavy infestations that will take time to remediate. Left alone for up to 3 months, pests such as German cockroaches, American cockroaches, flies, and rodents have the ability to expand their populations, unburdened by humans and their pest control tactics.

For those servicing such locations, here are some tips and tricks from the MGK Tech Services Team to quickly regain control:

Take stock of the entire situation

All PMPs understand the importance of a thorough inspection and proper pest identification. That said, very few have serviced establishments that were forced to abruptly close for several months. If the cockroach, fly, and rodent activity is obvious as soon as you walk in, monitoring takes the form of simply opening your eyes. If pest populations haven’t reached nuclear option levels, start by placing glue boards, tin cats, and/or rat monitoring stations to assess the current state of things. If after a month or so these aren’t generating any signs of infestation you can always remove them.

Two words…CLEAN OUT

If you do happen to enter an establishment overrun with cockroaches and flies, start by knocking down the entire population as quickly as possible. Shockwave® Fogging Concentrate, with a flushing agent, adulticide, two synergists, and NyGuard® IGR Concentrate will significantly reduce cockroach and fly populations and get you back to a maintenance state quickly. Because insects haven’t encountered humans for some time, they may be living in more accessible areas than they would otherwise.

Dried p-traps and grease traps could significantly increase drain fly populations, as well as American cockroaches (coming out of the sewer like tiny brown Ninja Turtles). Be sure to add water to such traps to prevent additional insects from entering the building.

For rodents, treatment can be much more difficult. If they have firmly established themselves on the interior of a structure it may be necessary to go all-out on trapping. This is difficult for both PMPs and restaurant/bar owners. The labor and expertise required to properly exclude and trap rodents should not be undervalued. However, restaurant owners coming off months without revenue and facing an uncertain future may be hesitant to pay what is required to get the job done. Be mindful of their situation but don’t get yourself into an undervalued contract that promises service that can’t be delivered at that price.


This is the old hat in the commercial pest control world. On the other hand, it is also the biggest obstacle for many accounts. This will be a fresh start for customers. Do your best to convince them that a thorough deep cleaning and bioremediation service can set them up for future success and keep the auditors/health inspectors at bay. Cleaning around kitchen equipment and fryers will help reduce cockroach populations. Foaming drains with approved bioremediation products and using IGRs will reduce flies. Rodents will be forced to go for rodenticide baits if they have no food available. Sanitation is pest control.

Follow up

Now that cockroaches, flies, and rodents are back to manageable levels it is important to keep it that way. Follow up cockroach cleanouts with baits like Vendetta Nitro® Cockroach Gel Bait or residual sprays like OneGuard® Multi MoA Concentrate. This will further reduce populations and deliver the added benefit of a long-lasting IGR to sterilize adults and keep juveniles from properly developing. Check glue boards to locate hidden harborage sites and focus treatments in these areas. Use fly lights to detect any increases in fly numbers. Inspect rodent bait stations regularly for signs of feeding, and inspect previously used runways for fresh droppings, footprints, or sebum.

Learn more about MGK professional products for food-handling establishments.

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