Rodent Risks

How to Deal With Rodent Risks in the Wake of COVID-19

Many businesses adapted to unusual circumstances during the global COVID-19 pandemic, including altered operating hours, unpredictable customer traffic and general uncertainty about the future. Even as things change all around us, pest threats remain a constant—which means your business is still at risk. And in the midst of widespread disruption, pest control can understandably be difficult to manage.

Some of the most opportunistic varieties of pests are rodents. Able to fit through holes significantly smaller than their bodies, rats and mice are always on the lookout for potential entry points to buildings that offer food, water and shelter. And when rodents’ food sources are reduced due to conditions like the COVID-19 lockdown, they become more driven to seek new options—which could mean bad news for your facility.

Why Rodents Are a Threat

Rodents are capable of seriously compromising the cleanliness and safety of your normal operations. Besides making employees and customers uncomfortable—not to mention the property damage they can cause—rodents are also known to transmit a number of diseases through their urine and droppings. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning specifically regarding these pests and their activity during COVID-19.

In addition to the havoc rodents can wreak, any pest activity can further disrupt your business operations by requiring remediation and sanitation of affected areas—costing time and money that could be spent addressing other business needs. Maintaining a proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan with your pest control provider can help you prevent pest problems and retain your focus on serving customers.

What to Look For

It’s crucial to keep an eye out for any rodents in your building. Their presence may manifest in obvious ways, like seeing a rat or mouse crawl across the floor. But there are also more subtle clues that can reveal an underlying rodent issue. These include:

  • Droppings: Capsule-like pellets around the area should raise a red flag.
  • Nests: Rodents build nests from shredded material, like paper, cloth and cardboard. These can usually be found in dark areas like crawlspaces, between walls and in garbage dumps.
  • Burrows: These pests can create elaborate underground tunnels or simple excavated holes.
  • Grease marks: Rodents are dirty, and their bodies leave behind grease marks as they travel along walls. Darker grease stains generally indicate more activity in that area.
  • Gnaw marks: Since their teeth never stop growing, rodents bite on all kinds of items. Look for chew marks in walls, insulation, wires, flooring, pallets and products. Also listen for heavy scratching noises.

Sanitation Is Key

Sanitation and disinfection go hand in hand with pest control to help create an environment that will make employees and customers feel safe. Rodents are attracted to cluttered, dirty spaces—especially where there’s food waste involved—so cleaning regularly helps reduce potential attractants. Maintaining a regular sanitation schedule can help you prevent rodents and recognize their presence early enough for intervention.

Here are a few ideas for implementing an effective sanitation routine:

  • Wipe down any equipment and machinery to clear moisture buildup and food debris.
  • Use proper product storage practices (off the ground, on open-backed shelves and following first-in, first-out protocol). This is highly important for food items.
  • Apply a product, like the powerful disinfectant used for Orkin® VitalClean™, that will kill 100% of bacteria and viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces and will also sanitize soft, porous surfaces.
  • Ensure employees are washing their hands and keeping breakrooms free of clutter.
  • Wipe up any spills and leaks soon after they occur.
  • Clean drains in and around your building often to help prevent food debris and other buildup.

The Bottom Line

No one likes a rat—and that’s particularly true when you’re running a business. This advice will help you keep your facility rodent-free and position your company to retain more customers as operations return to normal. To learn more about rodents and how to help prevent them, read Orkin’s detailed guide now.

Looking for expert help with pest management and sanitation at your facility? Get in touch with Orkin for a free consultation today.

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