Businesses may think, when summer has officially ended, the nights draw in and the weather turns colder, their pest control concerns are over for another year. However, while most insect type pests will have withdrawn many rodents and birds are seeking warmer climes, and as such businesses should be alert to potential pest issues.
In the summer, rats and mice often stay outside where it’s warm and food is plentiful. However, once the weather turns colder, they are likely to head for buildings where they can build nests and scavenge enough food to see them through the winter. Commercial properties make ideal targets for rodents looking for winter lodgings, as they are mostly unoccupied at night and will often have plentiful food supplies available.
Urban vs. Rural
Depending on the location of the commercial property, different rodent behaviour can be expected. In rural areas, they tend to breed during the warm summer months, which means, come the winter, undetected infestations could already be substantial. Urban mice and rats tend to breed throughout the year with warm, indoor nesting sites.
However, rats and mice are more than capable of breeding all year round. Young adult rodents are mature after around three months, and adults which have recently given birth are ready to mate and raise a new litter after just 24-hours.
It is therefore crucial for business owners to be alert to any signs of infestation and deal with them swiftly.
How to Spot Signs of Infestation
There are many signs which can help business owners deduce whether rodents have taken up residence in their properties. Learning to spot these signs early, with a regular and diligent inspection policy can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful pest control.
Evidence of Nesting – Shredded materials such as paper, cardboard or plants can be a sign of nest building. Nests will normally be built in low traffic areas and out of sight, so thorough checks are important.
Damage to Property – Rats and mice like to chew on things, so evidence of gnawing or burrowing can be a sign of infestation. Check warehouses or stock rooms for damage to packaging as rodents gather nesting materials. Food products will obviously be a prime target for rats and mice, so any evidence of feeding should be reported immediately.
Rodent Tracks – Rodents will often leave clear evidence of their movements in dusty or secluded areas through the presence of footprints and rail swipes. Mice and rats tend to use the same routes to and from their nests repeatedly, which results in dirty and greasy smear marks as they drag their bodies over surfaces.
Faecal Matter – All animals leave droppings. Thankfully rodent faeces are easy to spot, especially compared to insect droppings. Keeping alert to any such signs will alert staff to a potential problem.
The most important thing is to make sure staff are fully aware of these signs and there is a clear pest control policy in place, so they know what to do if an infestation is discovered.
Winter Pest Control Tactics
Much of the pest control advice in this article can be applied to any time of year but becomes particularly important during the winter months.
The increased scarcity of food makes it even more important to ensure any open food products are stored safely in sealed containers. Animals will be looking for any food they can get their paws on, so plastic containers are a must. Animal based businesses, such as pet shops or vets, need to make sure all pet food is securely stored at the end of each day as well.
Businesses which sell firewood in the winter, or builders’ merchants are likely to have stockpiles of wood. Rodents love to use piles of wood to nest in as it provides decent shelter and security for them. Elevating wood above the ground will significantly reduce its desirability to nesting rodents. Where possible wood should also be stored away from buildings, to make it more difficult for rodents to move unseen between the two locations.
Taking care of any landscaping before the weather turns cold is another way of reducing the chances of infestation. Cutting back branches which could be used to access the roofs of buildings and trimming overgrown areas to reduce hiding places are both great ways of making the environment less hospitable to unwanted pets.
Call the Professionals
If, despite your best efforts, an infestation of rats or mice is discovered during the winter months, Safeguard Pest Control is on hand to provide advice and effective commercial pest control solutions – all year round.
Get in touch today and one of our friendly and professional staff will be more than happy to assist you.