The Health Risks Posed by Cockroaches in School Canteens

Although cockroaches are now beginning to appear on the menus of Australian eateries, wild cockroaches have no business being in a school canteen. If you are responsible for one or more schools, pest control should be at the top of your list of priorities. Even school canteens that regularly pass health inspections are not immune to cockroach infestation, especially in the warmer months of November to March.

An Infestation Can Occur Within a Month

The biggest risk to school canteens is the German cockroach. If just one pregnant female ventures into a school canteen, within a month, there will be as many as 40 new cockroaches roaming the counters and tables at night. Due to the abundance of moisture and food, a school canteen environment is the ideal location for a German cockroach infestation to occur.

A cockroach infestation is harmful in several ways.

Cockroaches Cause Asthma Attacks

Students with asthma or other respiratory ailments are at risk from cockroach droppings, saliva, egg casings and cuticles left on surfaces by cockroaches. These tiny fragments contain allergens that can cause asthma attacks and allergic conditions such as rhinitis.

Cockroaches Contaminate Food

If cockroaches are able to access food, such as that kept in storage or left out to cool, they may deposit deadly strains of bacteria such as streptococcus and salmonella in the food. If a student eats food contaminated with these strains of bacteria, they may at least experience food poisoning symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and cramps. However, in serious cases, when the young or elderly are affected, such infections can be fatal.

Arrange for Night Inspections

Even if day time inspections don't discover cockroaches, ensure that your pest control service also conducts night time inspections. Cockroaches prefer to come out to feed in darkness.

Work Closely With Pest Controllers

As well as ensuring that your staff practices hygiene to an excellent standard, work with your pest controller to design and implement an effective cockroach control plan. That means sealing any access points from the outside, placing bait traps near areas of food or water and making sure that no garbage is ever left lying around.

In the colder months, cockroaches are less active. However, once summer rolls around, you should ensure that your school canteen is cockroach free. If you suspect a cockroach infestation, get in touch with a reputable pest control service and, together, you can eradicate the problem.