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How to prepare for rodent season

When it comes to rodents, prevention is always best.

As winter approaches, rats and mice are setting their sights on the warmth and shelter of indoors. For businesses, they’re not just a nuisance; they can damage property and spread diseases that endanger public health, so it’s important to control them early.

Our hot summers are a breeding paradise for rodents, so you’ll need to prepare for hordes of the critters! Your first step should be to seal off any cracks or gaps that rodents could get through – heating, air conditioning, plumbing, gas, electrical and communication lines provide some of the most common rodent entry points. If you can fit your thumb through a gap (~1.3cm), then assume that a rat can squeeze through it. If it can accommodate a pencil (~6cm), that’s enough for a hungry mouse.

In Australia, there are two types of rats to look out for:

*  Black Rat (Rattus rattus): Grows up to 24cm long with a pointed nose, large ears and slender body; they are good climbers and like moist fruits.

* Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus): Grows up to 40cm long with a thicker body, small ears and blunt nose. They prefer cereal, but are omnivores.

The other main rodent pest is the house mouse. They could also be called the warehouse mouse because they are partial to nesting among stored materials.

Rodent signs

Rats are nocturnal, so daytime sightings tend to be rare. When inspecting a site for potential rodent entry points, look for rub marks, droppings, tracks or gnawing.

Rats and mice have sharp incisors that can chew through a wide variety of materials – including lead and aluminium sheeting, wood, rubber, fibreglass, vinyl, plastic and even low-grade concrete. Also, follow your nose – rodents leave a trail of urine that smells distinctly pungent and unpleasant.

Rodent control tips

Prevention should always be your number one strategy when it comes to rodent control – news of a rodent sighting spreading across social media could be fatal for business! They also carry diseases and bacteria, contaminating surface areas and risking the health of your employees and customers.

Good hygiene, maintenance and rodent-proofing can help keep the rats and mice away, including:

*  Exclusion: Insulated walls and closed areas should be tightly sealed to avoid their use as shelter. Keep vulnerable foodstuffs in rodent-proofed and closely monitored areas.

*  Food handling and storage: Equipment such as refrigerators/freezers, counters, dishwashers and sanitisers should be accessible and movable to enable you to clean under and behind them.

*  Waste management: Rodents love organic waste, so use metal bins with tight-fitting lids and empty them at the end of each day.

*  Vegetation control: Regular weed control or mowing around the building eliminates a food source and discourages burrowing.

*  Electronic tracking: Consider partnering with a leading pest controller that uses smart rodent detection systems like PestConnect, allowing quicker response and action.

*  Maintenance: Conduct yearly maintenance checks in vulnerable spots around your building, such as gutters, external doors, windows, air conditioning units and hot water systems.

Contact Rentokil Pest Control today if you think you might have a rodent infestation in your business.

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Published
25th April 2018
Author
Kathryn Bush, Research & Innovation, Rentokil
Categories
Own Time, Take Control
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