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As the temperatures outside decrease, rodent sightings will begin to increase. This is bad news for facility managers as these pests search for shelter in warm areas with readily-available food and water.
“Rodents don’t need much of an invitation to enter your business,” said Chelle Hartzer, an Orkin entomologist. “A rat can squeeze through an opening as small as a quarter, while a mouse can wedge its way into a hole smaller than a dime.”
They chew through just about anything and can cause structural damage as they gnaw on electrical wires, gas lines and support beams. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 25 per cent of unexplained fires start from rodent chewing.
“Aside from causing structural damage, rodents can carry hundreds of pathogens that can transmit various diseases and dangerous parasites. Additionally, they constantly leave behind droplets of urine as they travel each day. These droppings can contribute to asthma and allergic reactions, especially in children,” Hartzer added.
Although no facility is immune to pest threats, some might have to fight harder to keep them at bay. Some cities are just prone to having a greater population of rodents, and facilities in those locals should be prepared.
Take Chicago, for example — for the fourth consecutive year, the Windy City topped Orkin’s list of Top 50 Rattiest Cities. To help facility managers avoid the potential health and safety risks associated with rodents, Orkin recommends the following tips to help prevent rats and mice in and around the facility:
- Inspect both inside and outside the facility for rodent droppings, burrows and rub marks along baseboards and walls. The more quickly rodents are detected, the better.
- Look for possible entry points outside the facility, seal all cracks larger than 1/4 of an inch and install weather strips at the bottom of exterior doors.
- Trim overgrown branches, plants and bushes to avoid giving them a “jumping off” point.
- Keep your facility clean, inside and out. Clean up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen to avoid leaving food residue or sugary substances that can attract rodents. Store all food (including pet food) in tightly-sealed containers like plastic bins, and never leave food or dishes sitting out overnight.
Rodents are far more than a nuisance – they can be dangerous and difficult to control. To effectively control rodent introductions, contact a trained pest professional who can assess your situation, implement a sound solution that is designed just for your home and monitor for improvements over time.