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Rodent treatment and prevention in restaurants, much like in supermarkets, hospitals, food plants, schools and other similar environments, require the assistance of pest management experts. Pest professionals can properly identify the rodent species and thereby better understand its biology and behavior/habits if a problem is currently in place. They can also develop a proactive integrated pest management (IPM) plan to prevent the pests from entering in the first place.

Also, due to changing food safety regulations, it is impossible for pest professionals to use a one-size-fits-all approach to rodent management in restaurants. For this reason, pest professionals must conduct a thorough assessment of the establishment and determine what conducive rodent conditions exist before employing one or more of the following tools: sanitation, trapping and baiting, proper storage practices and the use of both nonchemical and chemical treatments. Lastly, restaurateurs must also educate employees about their role in preventing infestations by implementing proper sanitation and food storage requirements.

Rodents are particularly resourceful at finding their way indoors, especially into prime locations serving up food and shelter. Restaurateurs need to be resourceful, too—not only to remain in compliance with the health code, but also to protect their establishments from lost revenue, diners and against forced closure.

Missy Henriksen is the vice president of public affairs and Jim Fredericks is the director of technical services for the National Pest Management Association. The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information about pests and prevention tips, please visit www.PestWorld.org.