Don’t let Rodents Trick or Treat You
David Cross, Head of the Technical Training Academy, Rentokil Pest Control, says Halloween is a time for facilities managers to look out for rodent infestations - in addition to ghosts, zombies and other creepy crawlies.
As the end of October ushers in colder weather, furry pests - including rats and mice, look to move indoors to find dry, warm harbourages and enough food and water to survive the winter months.
Rodents can cause a real problem for facilities managers across the country. While they may not cause direct harm to employees and the building’s visitors, they certainly do not create a welcoming environment for workers and they also spread germs and diseases.
The trouble is that it can be difficult to keep rodents out of buildings. Mice, for example, can fit through holes no bigger than the width of a biro. Rats, meanwhile, can enter premises through drains and have even been known to use toilet waste pipes to get indoors. On top of that, rodents are difficult pests to control. A mouse only needs three grams of food per day, and they are capable of eating from up to 70 different food sources in 24 hours.
It’s important to have a proactive pest control strategy in place, and to ensure that your premises is not an inviting home for rodents.
Signs of a rodent infestation
You might not think a single sighting of a mouse or rat is cause for alarm, but as rodents are nocturnal seeing one during daylight hours could mean there’s a bigger problem. Signs include:
- Smell and sound: Rats and mice have a very strong ammonia smell. On top of this; they are often noisy, making audible scrabbling noises moving around premises.
- Droppings: Rats excrete about 40 dark, pellet-shaped droppings per day, which are up to 14mm long. Mice can produce 80 oval-shaped droppings, which are typically 5mm long.
- Smears: Rodents use established routes along skirting boards and walls due to their poor eyesight. You may notice grease marks where rodents brush up against your walls and surfaces.
- Footprints: Rats can leave foot and tail marks in dusty, less-used areas of your premises. Shining a strong torch at a low angle should reveal tracks clearly. To establish if an infestation is active, sprinkle fine flour or talc along a small stretch of floor near the footprints and check for fresh tracks the next day.
- Damage: Rodents gnaw on anything to keep their teeth at a manageable size. This includes electric cables, which is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of an infestation, as it causes a fire hazard, while also being very difficult to spot.
Rodent-proofing your business
There are several ways that facilities managers have traditionally sought to keep rodents out of their premises. These include moving storage away from walls so that pests don’t have anywhere to hide, sealing holes in the exterior of the property with wire wool, caulk, metal kick plates or cement, and checking drains to ensure they’re not damaged.
There are also online courses available (such as Rentokil’s online myLearning PestAwareness training) which educate employees on the basic elements of pest control, including the biology of the animal. This helps them to recognise signs of rodent activity or other pest infestations and thus catch any problems early on.
While these remain important steps, facilities managers are also now able to stay one step ahead of pests by using digital technology to alert the business of a rodent problem.
Leading pest control solutions providers around the world have introduced innovative, digital pest control solutions. At Rentokil, our PestConnect system acts as ‘rodent burglar alarm by ensuring premises have the ability to monitor and control rodents 24/7. PestConnect utilises three versions of ‘connected’ traps – ‘AutoGate’ which uses infrared sensors to detect rodents outside the premises, RADAR for those mice that manage to find a way indoors and Rat Riddance Connect, a ‘smart trap’ used to monitor for and control rat activity inside. All versions of these traps send an alert to Rentokil’s control centre when activated by a rodent – triggering a service response in which a pest control technician contacts a customer to arrange a visit, reset the unit and recommend any additional preventative measures.
The PestConnect system is compliant with the CRRU Code – an initiative that promotes best practice and responsible rodent control that doesn’t harm the environment. For example, RADAR traps and kills a mouse using carbon dioxide, a faster and more humane method of elimination, without using rodenticide. Rat Riddance and Dual AutoGate are also CRUU compliant, as one is a connected mechanical trap that doesn’t use rodenticide and the other is a barrier between bait and the environment which only opens during an active rodent infestation. Harnessing the latest technological breakthroughs and innovation, digital pest management solutions help facilities managers to manage and prevent infestations while not harming the environment and with a level of efficiency and visibility not possible without connected solutions.
Simple, effective measures can be taken to ensure rodents are less likely to choose your premises for their next home this Halloween. Rodent prevention is always better than a cure, so a proactive pest management strategy is vital, and it will mean that costly infestations are much less likely to disrupt business. If you haven’t considered the role of internet-connected devices or technological innovations within your pest control strategy yet, then get in touch with the experts.