In winter, business owners have more than just heating costs, wet floors, and icy walkways to worry about, they also need to be ready for winter pests. Rodents are one of the most common ones to encounter, as the cold air, wind, and snow drive them into buildings and homes. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), about 45% of rodent issues occur during fall and winter.
How Do They Get In?
Winter weather conditions can be harmful to buildings, especially their roofs. The constant ice, snow, freezing, and thawing, can create cracks and crevices that can act as entry points for rodents, especially when they have an easy path to climb up (such as low-hanging tree branches). Mice can fit into a hole with a diameter of 0.25 inch (about the size a dime) and rats can fit through a diameter of 0.5 inch (about the size of a quarter). Any conveniently located opening outside of your facility can be an invitation for rodents to come in and make themselves at home. Ground-level pipes, gaps in doorways and windows are potential entry points too.
Sure Signs of a Rodent Population
Your facility is likely infested if there are…
- Droppings are present, especially near food sources
- Chew marks along walls, among wires, and on wood
- Grease marks from their oily fur
- Scurrying and scratching noises inside walls
How Much Damage Do They Cause?
Rodents have a physiological need to chew and will do so through any surface they can sink their teeth into. Drywall, insulation, wood, and electrical wires are commonly damaged with gnaw marks in buildings with rodents. Chewing wires poses a fire hazard and is especially detrimental to businesses. In the U.S., there are around 1.6 million home and building fires each year and it is estimated that rodents cause 8% of them. Businesses that provide foodservice should be extra wary of rodents, as they contaminate food sources. Per the NPMA, rats contaminate 20% of the world’s food population.
It is also important to know that rodents are known carriers of 11 different diseases that can be directly transmitted to humans. They can be spread through contact with their urine and droppings, and simply breathing in dust that has been contaminated by their excrement can make a person sick.
What Is The Best Protection?
The most cost-efficient way to deal with a rodent infestation is to prevent it from happening at all. Integrated pest management (IPM) does exactly that, by identifying entry points and sealing them, cutting off food sources, and recommending cleaning practices among other methods. If an infestation is present, pesticides are a last-resort effort to remove it. IPM’s preventative approach and minimal use of pesticides makes it the most environmentally conscious approach to pest management. Call Citron Hygiene to make sure your facility is winter-pest-proof today!