The responsibility to keep a restaurant free of pests generally falls on individual establishments. Sometimes outside factors make it difficult to keep cockroaches and other pests out of a restaurant. For instance, roaches can travel in a strip mall from one restaurant to another. For this reason, if you own a restaurant in a strip mall and another eatery in the building goes bankrupt, you should ask the property manager to have the closed restaurant's grease trap cleaned -- before your restaurant becomes infested with cockroaches, and you need to call a pest control company.
Roaches Love Grease Traps
Grease traps are used in restaurant plumbing to collect food waste before it enters the sewer system. As Goslyn explains, waste that enters traps separates into three layers:
- grease, oils and fats that float on the top
- wastewater that is the middle layer and eventually passes onto the sewer system
- food solids that sink to the bottom
Roaches are attracted to the grease, oils, fats and food solids in the traps, which they see as a grand buffet of never-ending food. Because these traps are usually also moist and dark, they're the perfect home for cockroaches.
Grease Traps Need to be Regularly Cleaned
In order to reduce the likelihood that a grease trap becomes infested with roaches and a pest control company needs to be called, these traps should be cleaned out regularly. How frequently a restaurant should have their grease trap cleaned depends on how busy the restaurant is and how large the trap is. For most establishments, EnviroTek USA recommends cleaning traps every two weeks to a month. As long as a trap is cleaned regularly, the risk of infestation will remain minimal.
Bankrupt Restaurants Can't Pay to have Their Grease Trap Cleaned
When a restaurant goes bankrupt, though, it can't pay to have its grease trap cleaned. Any assets the business does have will be used to pay creditors, not to hire a company that cleans out grease traps.
Even if the grease trap only has a little grease and fat in it when the restaurant closes, roaches will eventually find their way to the trap. They'll come in via the sanitary sewer that the grease trap's connected to. Once they find the grease trap, they'll stay there, eating the food source and breeding.
Roaches will Spread Via a Strip Mall's Pipes
As the roaches proliferate, they'll slowly take over more and more territory. While they may find their way through the grease trap cover and into the closed restaurant, they're more likely to travel down the pipes connected to the grease trap. If a pest control company isn't called in to deal with the infestation, they'll eventually make their way down the strip mall's plumbing to your restaurant. Once they're in your grease trap, they'll begin to look for other places in your restaurant where they can thrive -- areas like drains, sinks and food storage containers.
The Bankrupt Restaurant's Grease Trap Needs Cleaning
If roaches find their way to your restaurant's grease trap, you can call a pest control company to come and eliminate them. Your pest control company may be able to exterminate them from your place temporarily, but the roaches will return eventually if the bankrupt restaurant's grease trap isn't cleaned out. They'll just continue to live in that grease trap, and, as they proliferate, they'll eventually make it back to your trap.
While the closed restaurant should pay to have their trap cleaned out, the responsibility should fall to the property manager if the restaurant doesn't have money for the cleaning. Ask your property manager to have the bankrupt restaurant's grease trap cleaned, and be sure to point out that:
- the trap will need to be cleaned before the space is leased to a new tenant
- cleaning the trap will keep current tenants happy with the property
- not cleaning the trap will possibly lead to an infestation throughout the entire building
The property manager should see that it's in everyone's best interest to have the trap cleaned and be willing to foot the bill. Otherwise, everyone in the mall will soon be calling a pest control company.