Of mice and men
Being in the restaurant business, my nightmare will forever be pests—ants, cockroaches, flies, mice, mosquitoes and rats. Wherever there’s food, shelter and water, you are certain these pests are around waiting to pounce. This is something people don’t want to discuss, but it can’t be ignored because pests invade homes, offices and especially food establishments.
In our old Paris restaurant, I remember my macho brother Bong standing on one of our tables, freaking out when a tiny mouse showed up on our dining room floor. (If it were a beauty contest, Bong would have lost on poise).
At my sister’s house in San Francisco, I remember there would be mice, too. It was a game of challenge to me to catch them. The only difference is, the mice there look cuter with thicker fur. But they’re all the same—they’re still pests!
When I was still running a café in Makati, after coming home from a late night, I would drop by the restaurant with some friends, wake up my stay-in employees, lock all possible exits and hunt for gigantic rats.
As kids, my uncle Andy and some cousins would hunt for rats in the poultry we had in Batangas. We had 22-caliber rifles with shotgun shell ammo.
My home is built almost entirely in cement except for doors, door jams, sideboards and a few others. When we migrated to Canada, hardly any maintenance was done. When I got back, I realized almost all wood had been eaten up by anay (termites). This is something almost all homes need to address.
I hired a company that puts wood bait all over the house. They come back after a few weeks and if they see anay eat the wood bait, then they put a poisonous solution that the anay will eat, go back to their colony and contaminate the whole colony and eventually eradicate the anay colony. Ingenious!
With the other pests like mosquitoes, mice, rats, ants and cockroaches, the company initially did a great job, spraying pesticides then sealing all entry points. I was very impressed. But when I called for maintenance work, I was no longer satisfied.
At one point, I had to ask the guys to come back four more times because I still saw ants and mice. And now I still have that problem.
I have gotten a couple of companies to service the restaurant and my home. One was even recommended by another restaurant chain. But they are all dismal failures.
Until a friend Marc introduced me to someone who worked on his house. Marc had the same home pests. This anti-pest group opened his eyes to hidden anay, evidence of possible mosquito buildup, mice and cockroach activity that previous companies never saw. I got them to maintain the restaurant and was very impressed at how thorough this new company was.
The guys found places where most would not look for possible infestation. They explained to the home staff and restaurant workers what to do to avoid pest attraction.
For example, ipis (cockroaches) love to hide at the back of the fridge, on the rubber hinges, or back of frames. There are two kinds of ipis—German and American. The large American type can be found mostly at homes, while the German kind is usually in food establishments. Interesting!
I was advised to do treatment twice a month in the restaurant. But this could go down to once a month, if my staff succeeds in shooing the pests away.
Food will forever attract these pests. At home, the suggestion is once-a-month pest treatment, but I guess once every two months is okay.
With dengue season just around the corner, I’d feel better with someone thoroughly watching my back. Pests are part of the headaches of everybody.
My Tylenol at the moment is this group called Pest To Go. Check it out: tel. 0929-3984136 and 0917-4864608.