An infestation of mice can cause serious pest control issues for any retail business. Therefore, it’s important to understand the reasons they may be drawn to your business and the consequences if they are.
An adult house mouse is a small creature, only growing to around one to two inches long, excluding their tails. The tail is hairless, and usually equal to the length of the head and body combined. They have large rounded ears, a pointed nose, and small black eyes. Their fur can be light grey, brown, cream, or white.
While they may seem harmless, house mice should not be underestimated. They gnaw through electrical wires, and can cause untold damage to food products and packaging – both when sharpening their teeth and when gathering materials to build their nests. There have been many occasions where electrical fires or even floods have been caused by mouse-related damage.
On average, mice excrete around 70 droppings in a 24-hour period, and, like many animals, frequently urinate to mark their territory. This, combined with their saliva and filthy fur, can spread disease to humans, either through food contamination, or direct contact.
To compound matters, mice only take approximately eight to ten weeks to become sexually mature. A single breeding pair is capable of producing eight litters of young per year, each made up of 16 baby mice. This means that, without a pest control system in place, a couple of mice taking up residence in your retail site can quickly become an unmanageable epidemic.
To avoid damage to property, revenue, and reputation – not to mention regulatory fines – it’s important to understand why retail sites attract mouse infestations.
#1 Poorly Maintained Refuse Areas
Pests love litter. A build-up of wrappers, cardboard, and plastic not only often hides convenient morsels of food, but also provides a ready supply of materials which mice can use to build their nests.
In the daily hustle and bustle of a busy retail environment, it can be easy to become complacent about rubbish, with outdoor or warehouse areas quickly becoming dumping grounds for product packaging and delivery cases. If your retail site also serves food (such as in a large shopping precinct) there is even more opportunity for a build-up of food-stained litter, so extra precautions will be necessary.
Make sure you have a secure and lockable skip in which to dispose of all refuse, and ensure all staff know the importance of keeping all work and service areas clear of crumbs and rubbish.
#2 Hygiene and Cleanliness
Bulky litter is one thing, but another factor which will attract mice to your retail site is poor hygiene and cleanliness.
Dirty buildings and work areas will again offer a great source of food and nesting materials for scavenging mice. In addition, though mice often don’t need to drink water, since they get the hydration they need from their food, pools of standing water can nonetheless provide an emergency watering hole – or even a toilet – for the rodents.
Most of all, poor cleanliness is a sign of neglect and the lack of human activity in these areas will send a message to pest animals such as mice that the location is a relatively safe and undisturbed spot in which to set up their homes.
It is important therefore, to have a strict cleaning routine. All areas should be thoroughly swept and mopped regularly, dusted and cleaned. For those site managers running large retail complexes, dedicated staff should be assigned, or a cleaning firm contracted to regularly clean all areas.
#3 Gaps and Cracks
Mice are constantly on the lookout for a secure place to hide from predators – cats, foxes, birds of prey, etc. While these larger animals are, due to their size, usually unable to enter buildings such as retail sites, mice are expert contortionists and are able to squeeze their slender and malleable bodies through even the smallest of gaps.
Openings around pipes and wires, roof vents, cracks beneath doors and windows, and gaps around plumbing lines, gas lines or sewer lines all leave your retail site vulnerable to an invasion, as it provides a relatively safe space for rodents looking to avoid becoming something else’s lunch.
Regularly inspect plumbing, utility lines and vents for gaps, and fill them. Seal any cracks you discover in your building’s foundation and walls. Taking such preventative pest control steps now will help prevent problems in the future.
#4 You’re Ignoring Warning Signs of Infestation
Ultimately, mice will move into areas if they think they are safe. An infestation is of course, a problem that you would rather not have to deal with – but if you ignore the warning signs, then a small problem can quickly become a large one, so it’s imperative you know what to look for.
The first sign will often be droppings – and mice leave a lot of them. These are usually concentrated around the nesting site. Other signs include evidence of gnawing, a lingering ammonia smell, scratching, nibbling, or squeaking noises, and greasy smear marks along the bottom of walls, skirting boards, shelves, or other surfaces.
If any of your staff see mouse droppings, or any other signs of mice being present, they should report it to you immediately and you need to take action.
#5 You Don’t Employ the Services of a Professional Pest Control Company
Pest control is like any other skill. If you want it done properly, the best solution is to employ the services of a qualified and experienced professional. You wouldn’t attempt to fix your retail site’s plumbing or air conditioning systems yourself, so don’t leave your pest control in the hands of amateurs either.
A professional pest control expert will visit your retail site and consult with you to design a bespoke solution to fit the day to day challenges of your business. They will be able to advise you on danger spots which are vulnerable to attracting mice and other pests and the best ways to maintain those areas effectively.
With a pest control expert on your books, your staff will know the signs to look out for that mice have taken up residence, and the correct reporting procedures to ensure the issue gets dealt with promptly, before the infestation gets out of hand.
If you’re looking for a professional and quality solution for your retail site, then Safeguard Pest Control has over 30-years’ experience in designing bespoke pest control strategy for commercial clients.
Please get in touch today.