Creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for restaurant guests involves more than simply good ambiance and decor along with the right interior temperature. Preventing nuisances, such as flying insects, is just as important. Keeping the common fly out of your restaurant can prove to be a challenge, however, especially where the kitchens are concerned. Exterior rear doors to garbage containers, for example, can easily let flies into the kitchen area. Does it really make a difference, though, if a few flies find their way inside? After all, what’s a few here and there if your restaurant is otherwise clean?
Here’s the reality: flies are foul insects, and even one is too many. Adult flies have but two purposes: to eat and reproduce. While they might be a nuisance buzzing around during service, they represent a far greater risk to food safety and the sanitation of your restaurant. The best way to understand these risks is to look at the entire life cycle of the fly. Left unchecked, this cycle could begin to play out over and over inside your establishment, ultimately resulting in a serious infestation of flies. How could that happen?
Where It All Begins
Every fly starts life as a tiny egg. A female fly, once fertilized, can lay up to 150 eggs over several days. Should some of these insects enter your restaurant, it’s nearly a guarantee that they will soon look for a place where they can begin laying eggs. Organic matter rich in nutrients is what flies prefer, and as you can imagine, a restaurant has no shortage of sources for that. Flies will seek out garbage, especially vegetable and meat trimmings, but will also visit fresh foodstuffs as well. In other words, a kitchen is a fly’s idea of heaven.
Once deposited, the time it takes for fly eggs to hatch into their larval form varies. Temperature plays a big role, as does humidity; the colder and dryer the space, the less likely the eggs are to hatch. In very warm and moist conditions, however, it takes the eggs only a mere 24 hours to hatch. From that point, it’s off to the races. Think about that: if a fly lays eggs somewhere in your restaurant that won’t be immediately discarded or cleaned, it’s a ticking time bomb.
The First Stages of a Fly’s Life
We should all be familiar with the revolting larval fly, typically called a maggot. After hatching, the maggots begin to consume the organic material in which their eggs were laid. They then begin rapid growth as the maggots progress through several stages of development, gradually becoming larger and longer. They’re not stuck to one place, either; they can rapidly infest an entire container searching for more food to eat. Again, temperature plays a role here. In warm environments, the whole process can take as little as three days before the maggot is ready to progress to its next life stage. In less stable conditions, it may take up to a week. In either case, that means days of contamination and food waste caused by fly larvae.
Once sufficiently grown, the larvae will begin to pupate in a process similar to what a butterfly does, but with a much less beautiful result. Larvae typically relocate during this stage, leaving food behind and seeking out cool, dark places in which to create their pupae. You wouldn’t happen to have any locations in your restaurant like that, would you? Pupation does not take long — at most, it can take up to 4 days before adult flies begin to emerge.
Continuing the Cycle of Contamination
Flies are ready to take the air in search of mates and meals rapidly after emerging from their pupae. In fact, it takes a mere four hours before females are ready to breed and begin laying eggs again. During the adult stage of their lives, which may last up to a month, flies continually seek out food material. They have no mouths or teeth, however; instead, when they land on food, they spit up (or vomit) a chemical mixture that begins to dissolve the food. It’s the resulting slurry they suck up, leaving behind a contaminated mess. One more “fun” fact that’s relevant here: flies are known to be carriers for dozens of different diseases.
Keeping Flies Out of Your Restaurant with Reliability
Female flies don’t lay one batch of eggs and quit, either; many can produce an average of 1,000 eggs in their brief lifetimes, laying new batches every few days. Left unchecked for even a few days, flies can begin to severely impact the food safety of your establishment while disgusting customers who must contend with them in the dining room. Proper food handling practices are an essential step in shutting down the life cycle of the fly, but there is another technique that is even more effective. Why not ensure that the flies simply can’t enter your establishment at all?
That’s where air curtains can come into the picture. Mounted above the doorways of the entrances and exits to your building, each unit creates a coherent stream of air that is gentle to people but like a hurricane to a tiny fly. Should one attempt to fly in through an open door protected by an air curtain, it will find itself quickly blown back outside. With this one simple solution, safeguarding your restaurant and ensuring it does not become a breeding ground for flies is easy.
At Air Door Distributors, we use years of experience and access to a deep catalog of products to connect our clients with appropriate solutions. Air curtains are excellent for more than just insect control, as they can have a positive impact on your energy usage as well. To find out more about how air curtains can change the way your business protects itself from flying insects and the adverse health effects they bring along, please get in touch with our team today.