When it comes to pest control – whether in commercial or residential properties – the key to successfully tackling an infestation is early intervention. If the issue is tackled promptly, before breeding cycles etc. have begun, it is generally far easier to deal with.
For commercial properties, dealing with a pest control issue in a prompt manner can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and losing thousands of pounds worth of stock. Even worse, a pest infestation can lead to a visit from the people at environmental health, who can issue fines, sanctions or even shut a business down completely.
Obviously, pests are not concerned about human rules and regulations, so the onus is on business owners to remain vigilant for any signs an infestation may be imminent.
The most likely sign pests have begun to move into a property is the sudden appearance of faecal matter or urine. However, while the droppings from mice, rats or birds may be very easy to spot, waste from smaller creatures – such as insects – can be more difficult.
Therefore, businesses need to conduct regular and thorough inspections of all areas of their properties – especially anywhere soft furnishings or food are stored or used. Policies should be in place for all workers – particularly cleaning and maintenance staff – to be alert to the possibility of animal waste and to report any discoveries as soon as they are made.
Evidence of Nesting
Most animals build nests of one variety or another. Staff should stay alert for any small piles of shredded paper, cardboard, or plant material such as grass clippings or leaves. Pests will normally build nests away from high traffic areas to evade discovery, so regular and thorough inspections are important.
Birds will usually build their nests in elevated locations necessitating the inspection of any warehouse rafters and ledges for signs of occupation.
Grease marks and tracks
Animals tend to use the same routes to and from their nests again and again. In the case of larger animals such as rodents this will be evidenced by a build-up of dirt and grease on surfaces as they repeatedly drag their bodies over them.
Also bear in mind, many animals are not restricted to travelling over horizontal surfaces alone. Therefore, it is important to not only check floors for animal tracks, but walls as well.
Property and Structural Damage
Physical damage to property – such as holes or bite marks – is another sign of possible pest habitation. Rats and mice especially like to chew on things, so business owners need to look for evidence of this. Skirting boards, furniture, wiring, pallets, shelving and such can all be prime targets for chewing. Damage to product packaging – as animals gather soft materials for their nests – is another sign of infestation.
Small holes, especially in wood, can be a sign of an insect infestation. Termites and other burrowing insects can cause timber structures to become brittle and collapse. This can be devastating for both property and personnel.
Food items are a prime target for all types of pests, so any signs of damage to packaging or fresh produce should be reported immediately.
Damage to Plants
Insects love plants, so signs of trails or bite marks taken from any foliage should be noted. Any outdoor areas need to be monitored as well. Moles and other burrowing pests will leave mounds of soil on lawns, while infestations of ants of other insects can leave grass lengths uneven, or patches of dead or dying foliage.
It may sound extreme, but staff can also provide clues of a pest infestation. Sudden and widespread bouts of sickness, may indicate an issue relating to pests contaminating food or drink. Staff complaining of being bitten regularly may suggest an infestation of fleas, bedbugs, or other biting insects.
The ways in which staff can help with spotting an imminent infestation isn’t limited to them becoming victims of it, however. By having clear and well communicated policies in place, business owners can ensure their staff are always vigilant of any potential issues.
Staff should know to look out for waste, nesting, tracks and damage. They should also be aware of the correct procedures for reporting any discoveries. It is a good idea to source a reputable and experienced pest control expert ahead of time, so the company to contact once a potential infestation has been identified can form part of the policy. This saves the time and trouble of looking one up and having to choose at random.
If you think you have discovered an infestation and need a professional solution or you are looking for assessment or advice, Safeguard Pest Control are commercial pest control experts with over 30 years’ experience in the business. Contact us today.