Restaurant Suffers from Cockroach Infestation

Batzner’s expertise has helped many clients who had limited to no success with a previous pest control company. Here is one such occurrence, where thorough treatments and customer education is aiding in solving a difficult cockroach problem and instructing a restaurant owner on the practices necessary to prevent future infestations.

A pest infestation can be disastrous for restaurant owners. A health inspection revealing an infestation can cause your restaurant to close, and a customer seeing a single pest can result in lost business. Cockroaches, more than any other insect, are associated with an unclean environment. A fly buzzing around the bar or some ants on a back patio may be tolerated, but a cockroach sighting is almost guaranteed to send people running for the doors.

Unfortunately, cockroaches also happen to be one of the most resilient and difficult to treat insects in the world. For this reason, restaurant owners need the most dedicated and thorough pest control professionals working to protect their brand.

The Issue

The owner of a local restaurant was receiving multiple reports of cockroach sightings at his business. He had been using a national pest control provider who grew complacent and appeared either unaware or unconcerned that the roach issue was worsening. According to the owner, the response time was a major problem and the service was often provided during business hours, which can lead to a less effective treatment due to employee interference in addition to being unappealing for customers. The restaurant was originally receiving monthly service before the owner had to request switching to bi-monthly and finally weekly treatments in an attempt to resolve the growing infestation– nothing was recommended by the service provider.

After months of the problem worsening, a restaurant owner’s worst nightmare occurred. A cockroach walked across a table of fourteen on Christmas. The family got up and walked straight out of the restaurant. It was at this time that the owner decided to drop his service provider and give Batzner a chance to help him rebuild his brand.

Our Inspection

Upon the initial inspection, live roaches were discovered in the kitchen, on the service counter, and in the dish room, with evidence of cockroach activity present in other areas as well.

Keith Loewus, a Commercial Sales Consultant involved in the inspection, noted that, “The previous company didn’t use any type of monitors at all. Simple monitors like glue traps are helpful for identifying the type of insect you are dealing with as well as pinpointing the source of the infestation. We strategically placed monitors throughout the restaurant and the results allowed us to narrow down the source of the problem.”

Also during the inspection, serious problems were noticed that the previous provider had not pointed out to the owner. These included:

  • Missing baseboard/cracks in baseboard throughout kitchen allowing entry
  • Debris build-up (lots of food, paper, and cardboard provides food sources and harborage)
  • Standing water by dishwasher (water source)
  • Cracks in floor allow for food/grease/debris build-up
  • Damaged base wall tiles; allows for debris and mop water to accumulate under tile

All of these factors contributed to making the location an attractive residence for cockroaches, and educating the owner on the necessity of fixing them was the first step taken in stopping the infestation.

Our Service

To start, a team of four Service Specialists were sent in for an initial clean-out, including Dave Kusnierek, a District Manager and Associate Certified Entomologist with over thirty years of experience. They were able to assess the situation and reassure the owner that it was nothing they hadn’t seen and dealt with before. This took place after-hours when the restaurant was closed, which was important because it allowed our Service Specialists to fully inspect and treat all areas without having cooks or other employees in the way and prevented customers from witnessing the process.

Also involved in the treatment was Service Specialist Rob Van Willigen, who observed that, “The previous company was largely or even only using baits. This can be ineffective, especially if they aren’t mixing up the type of bait used. We, on the other hand, use the correct products appropriate for the situation. In this case, that is a mix of different products and Insect Growth Regulators, as well as a fog injection into wall voids to reach areas where the roaches hide.” Using a variety of products, in addition to being able to reach different areas, prevents populations from building a resistance to the bait or other treatment being applied.

During subsequent services, which always take place before the restaurant opens, monitor use and consulting with the owner on sanitation and exclusion have continued, in keeping with the Integrated Pest Management philosophy. The inspection and initial clean-out treatment had revealed the main source of the infestation to be the wall behind the grills, so services regularly include a dust product injected into holes drilled into the wall for this purpose in addition to normal treatment.


Within a month of the initial service there was a drastic reduction in the cockroach population. While the situation is not yet perfect, it is definitely under control. Upkeep on sanitation and other aspects are necessary to completely eradicate the population, but the owner is already very happy with the progress that has been made.

Batzner’s dedication and attention to detail have impressed him the most. While his last provider was rarely there for a full hour, Batzner’s service calls routinely last approximately an hour and a half. Skie Gierach, Operations Manager, has experienced this as a common difference between us and national companies, “Many national providers pay their Service Specialists based on the treatments they perform in a day or as a percentage of the quoted price of a location, rather than an hourly wage. This incentivizes them to focus on doing their work as quickly as possible, rather than on the quality.”

With the extra time spent at locations like this one, Batzner Service Specialists are able to perform a more thorough treatment. This pays off against tough pests like cockroaches. As Rob explains, “The extra time and effort we spend on our treatments means we can get to every crack and crevice, even the very difficult to reach ones. This is important because those hard to reach places are where the roaches actually hide away. Getting to those places usually means being on your hands and knees, which other providers may not be willing or have the time to do. While it isn’t easy being that thorough, the results speak for themselves.”

Batzner looks forward to continuing to work with this client and solving any other pest problems that may arise. Both Batzner and the owner are confident that the thoroughness and dedication brought to treatments, as well as the education and partnership provided, will be enough to keep their brand protected.

Batzner Presents 27th Annual Food Safety & Pest Management Seminar

NEW BERLIN, Wis., March 9, 2017: Batzner Pest Control’s 27th Food Safety and Pest Management seminar will take place on April 6, 2017 at the American Serb Hall in Milwaukee, WI.

The seminar provides an educational update for environmental health, pest management, food industry and private sector attendees, with nearly 300 in attendance. Batzner Pest Control, the most trusted pest control company in Wisconsin and Illinois, provides nationally recognized experts that give insight into pest behaviors that are necessary to make informed decisions regarding pest issues.

Employees in a range of businesses benefit, from healthcare facility and restaurant management to public health and food manufacturing. Many attendees return year after year and feedback from attendees is always taken into consideration to ensure topics are relevant.

This year’s topics range from controlling rat populations in multi-family housing complexes to integrated pest management (IPM) relevant to all industries. Batzner is proud to invite back returning speakers Dr. Robert M. Corrigan and Erin Monteagudo and new speaker Jeffrey Tucker. The following topics will be covered:

  • Vermin Free Eateries: What Does It Take by Dr. Robert Corrigan
  • Cockroaches and Bed Bugs by Erin Monteagudo
  • Fly Infestation in Commercial Facilities by Jeffrey Tucker
  • Controlling Rats and Mice in Multi-Family Housing Complexes by Dr. Robert Corrigan
  • IPM: Fleas & Ticks by Erin Monteagudo

Registration is now open until March 24.

Phorid Flies Cause Problems in Food Plant

Batzner’s superior knowledge and expertise has helped us provide effective pest control for many clients who had limited to no success with a previous pest control company. Here is one such occurrence, where our thorough inspections and interviewing led to the identification of the source of a phorid fly infestation in a food plant facility after their prior company failed to do so.

If you operate a food plant, you know the importance of pest control. Not all pest control companies provide the same level of protection, however, as one of our current clients discovered. While many companies can offer the basics like putting out bait stations and fly lights, they often fall short in trickier situations that require a more resourceful solution. Fortunately for this client, Batzner was able to step in and use our knowledge and experience to help them pass the high audit standards of the food plant industry.

The Issue

Brenda Borgman, Batzner’s Commercial Sales Manager, describes the problem that the client was experiencing: “The main issue facing this food plant was an abundance of small flies in a few of its production areas. Their old company provided the standard procedure of putting up fly lights and treating in the sump pump area, where the flies were breeding. However, when this proved to be ineffective and not the source of the infestation, they were at a loss for what to do next. This turned into a major problem for the client when a customer audit was nearly failed and they were put on a warning status.”

Step 1- Identification

Once the client realized that their provider at the time was unable to solve their problem, we were asked to examine the situation. Our team of Service Managers and Service Specialists arrived and performed an inspection of the entire production area in order to find the source of the infestation. David Kusnierek, District Manager, recalls that, “Almost immediately, we recognized that the previous company had misidentified the flies as black-eyed fruit flies. They were actually phorid flies, and while the two look very similar, their preferred environments and behavior are very different. Correctly identifying the pest we were dealing with was crucial to discovering where the problem was coming from.”

Step 2- Interview and Inspection

Our team then interviewed the facility maintenance staff to get a history of the building. They discovered that the plumbing ran underneath the floor of several areas that were heavily infested, and that a pipe had burst years ago. This information, combined with the phorid fly identification, made the contaminated soil around the pipe a prime suspect for the source of the infestation. To test their hypothesis, the team drilled strategically-placed holes through the floor slab and discovered that this was indeed where the flies were living and laying their eggs.

Step 3- Treatment

The last step was the treatment itself. Our team recognized that the extent of the infestation would necessitate multiple treatments, and that leaving the holes open would result in many more of the flies entering the production area. To solve this problem, PVC pipes were fitted into the openings in the floor slab with capped ends so that the insecticide could be injected into the infested area without leaving opportunities for flies to escape between applications.


This creative solution not only solved the immediate infestation, but also proved to the client that Batzner is able to go far beyond simply setting and monitoring traps. They recognized the value of our expertise, as our service team had an organized plan of attack ready within a few hours after their inspection. Beyond the treatment, they were also impressed with our documentation processes. Our Client Portal, detailed service and trending reports, and Client Care Binder all vastly exceeded what their previous company had offered, and made the entire pest control process more structured and client-friendly. They have experienced an increased level of service through all aspects of a pest control provider.

Paul Matusiak, the Operations Manager in charge of the account, said that, “More than anything, this client was impressed with the level of partnership we strive to create. Initially, they weren’t used to the level of communication necessary for the best possible results. At first, they thought we were just there to apply products and leave, but they soon saw the benefits of our consultative and partnership approach; for example, we explained to them that some of their maintenance practices, like flooding the floors to clean them, were creating conditions that allowed pests to thrive. After listening to our recommendations, their pest issues have declined dramatically.”

Our partnership with this client continues over three years later. Our experience in all aspects of pest control has proven valuable in multiple ways since our initial visit, from small pest issues to handling the transition of part of their plant to organic processing. Most importantly, the client has not come close to a warning or failed audit since.

Black Widow Spider Surprise in Manufacturing Plant

Batzner’s superior knowledge and expertise has helped to provide effective pest control for many clients who encounter out of the ordinary pest situations. Here is one such occurrence, where the ability to identify a pest and quickly come up with a creative solution was crucial in preventing a potentially dangerous situation at an international brand’s manufacturing facility.

Many manufacturing facilities bring in parts from all over the country or world, and pests from those regions occasionally tag along. In these situations, quickly and accurately identifying the pest is crucial to solving an issue before it grows into an even bigger problem. Fortunately for this client, Batzner excels at these out of the ordinary cases, and Batzner was able to swiftly recognize and deal with a pest uncommon in this area to protect the client’s employees and brand.

The Issue

During a routine service visit, the Service Specialist came across a spider that is rarely seen in Wisconsin hiding in one of the large machine products. Jason Ganas, Operations Manager, remembers receiving the Service Specialist’s call from the location and being surprised. “He told me that he thought he was looking at a black widow spider. I’ve never had a black widow found in Wisconsin, so this seemed unlikely. They are mainly found in the south and don’t live here due to the temperate climate. I asked him to bring it in so we could be sure of what we were dealing with.”

Once he saw the spider himself, Ganas confirmed that it was indeed a black widow. Due to the combined circumstances of the pest’s rarity in the area and the fact that it was hidden away inside of a machine product, Ganas found it likely that the spider had been brought in during an outside shipment. All pest issues need to be handled quickly to avoid infestations growing exponentially, but this one was particularly urgent. Black widows like to stay hidden but will attack when their webs are disturbed, and the nature of the product (which is handled by people and has many ideal web-building areas) made bites probable. While very rarely fatal to people, black widow bites can still be extremely painful and cause a number of unpleasant symptoms.


“We’ve seen these situations before where an uncommon pest hitchhikes to a manufacturing facility, so we know how to handle them,” says Ganas, “The first step is determining the severity of the problem, because it’s possible that this was a single pest that snuck into the shipment.”

Black widows are very shy and nocturnal pests, so finding more in a large manufacturing facility was no easy task. Within a week, however, two more adults and several egg sacs had been discovered in finished products, indicating that a bigger population was present and likely arrived in a similar way as the initial spider.

With this information, we moved on to the next step of identifying where the infested products had come from and which additional products were sent in from the same location. Ganas describes, “Through communicating and working closely with the client, we found that the products that the spiders and eggs were found in had just been returned from a distribution center in Arizona, where black widows are much more common. From talking to management at the distribution center, we also learned that the total of twenty finished products they shipped back had been stored outside on pallets for an extended period of time, further supporting that the infestation started there and was brought back.”


Because the identification and investigation of the infestation had been handled so quickly, it was unlikely that any of the black widows had spread from the 20 products in which the infestation initially occurred to the other approximately 180 products stored nearby. This allowed the treatment to focus on those 20 products.

Ganas explains, “Once we had gathered all the information, the treatment plan was very straight-forward. The products had intricate machine parts that offered tons of hiding spots for egg sacs and spiders, so we decided the best course of action was to put the 20 products in a trailer and fog the trailer. This allowed the product to reach all the hidden areas and ensure the pests were exterminated.”


After the treatment, no additional black widow spiders were seen in any part of the client’s facility. The treated products were able to be moved back into normal storage within an hour after the application. The client was extremely impressed at how quickly and effectively such a unique situation had been dealt with, saying that everything was handled without interrupting or interfering with their normal business operations.

Most importantly, no employee or customer had to deal with a black widow bite, which would have been likely if the population had continued to grow or if the problem had not been dealt with so quickly.