So, your restaurant recently completed a renovation project and is ready to reveal its fresh look to customers—or so you think. As it turns out, pest control practices were overlooked during the renovation process. The result? You’ve given pests a new habitat to thrive.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t a far-fetched situation. If you don’t incorporate pest management practices into your renovation process, you can be stuck with pest issues during and after the renovation process. And aside from being a nuisance, pests such as cockroaches and rodents, can carry pathogens that can cause dangerous diseases. Others, such as termites, can threaten the integrity of your building’s structure.

This is why an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan is important to your business and the renovation process. IPM is the most effective and environmentally responsible approach to pest control because it focuses on eliminating the conditions that attract pests through proactive sanitation and restaurant maintenance, reducing the need for remedial chemical treatments.

Below is what you should know about some of the peeving pests your restaurant is prone to during and after renovations.


Cockroaches are sneaky masters of disguise. They can flatten themselves to fit into tiny crevices; or come pouring out of an uncapped pipe or wall void.

When you see one that often means there are more behind the scenes waiting to make a grand entrance. Cockroaches can contaminate food and beverages and spread disease-causing agents to customers such as E. coli and Salmonella.


Rodents come in all sizes and can tip-toe into your restaurant from outside through small openings or be brought in on shipments. Once they’re in, they are most likely to be spotted near dirty dishes, or open food containers.

It’s best practice to look for capsule-like pellet droppings and chew marks on packages in susceptible areas. An additional sign of rodent activity is grease or rub marks along floor boards and walls—this is from their fur rubbing against the material as they scurry past.


Termites are silent destroyers and live in massive colonies of 200,000–500,000, on average. They often find their food source inside walls and floors of your restaurant.

Be mindful of the supplies your contractor is using as some cellulose-based building materials attract these tiny terrors. It’s also important to inspect walls and floors prior to renovation in case any of pests have previously slipped through the cracks.

Before Renovation Begins

Prior to the start of any renovation project, it’s smart to have a solid plan in place. Set up a meeting with your pest management professional and contractor(s) to ensure everyone is on the same page with how to best incorporate pest management into the renovation process. All parties play a key role, so it’s critical for everyone to work together as a team.

Specific actions you can do before renovations include:

  • Work with your pest management professional to asses pest activity in the area. Doing this will help determine what measures to take to reduce the presence of pests throughout the construction process.
  • Pretreat for certain pests and pay attention to materials being used. When possible, use building materials that aren’t made out of cellulose fibers (e.g. metal wall studs instead of wood) to minimize the chances of a termite infestation.
  • Inspect materials for pests before bringing them on-site. Inspect them again before using them.
  • Plan out designated garbage areas to minimize access to pests.

During the Renovation

As renovations start, your restaurant can become more susceptible to pests, which is why it is important to stay one step ahead and take the following precautions.

  • Work with your pest management professional to set up rodent and insect bait traps around the perimeter of your facility, as well as near renovation materials.
  • If your renovations involve pipes or water, ensure that your restaurant is properly graded and that the water is flowing away. Pests are attracted to water, so minimize its presence onsite.
  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but we’re here to remind you to keep the site clean. Debris, food and trash can attract pests, so dispose of waste properly and inspect the site at the end of each day to make sure nothing is left behind for pests to get into.

Renovation Completion

Once the bulk of the renovation is complete, take these additional preventative measures to help eliminate future pest issues.

  • Ensure that doors and windows are tight against the frames and use screens to block pests from finding openings.
  • Make sure all debris and garbage are properly disposed of and taken off-site as soon as possible.
  • Work with your pest management professional to create a plan for employees about best practices in the instance of a pest sighting.

When it’s time to make renovations, big or small, don’t overlook pest management. Getting a pest management professional involved in the beginning will help protect your investment and position your newly renovated establishment for success.

Tim Husen is Technical Services Manager for Orkin. A board-certified entomologist specializing in urban entomology, he has more than a decade of experience in the industry. For more information, email or visit
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