Looking ahead to fall – and rodent season

Nov 19, 2018, 09:12 AM by Fred Speer

Like forecasting the weather, predicting the veracity of this fall’s rodent activity involves science, data analysis, and expertise.

What do the rodent experts at Clark Pest Control have to say on what commercial clients can expect when it comes to rodent pressure this fall?

Richard Park, A.C.E., a quality assurance manager for Clark, predicts a moderate uptick in rodent activity this fall. Rodents will be seeking new sources of food, water, and shelter to replace existing supplies, which have dwinded due to summer’s excessive heat and dry conditions.

Park says that rodents have begun moving closer to structures in search of moisture, and will go to extreme lengths to access it. He has seen evidence of rodents chewing on plastic water bottles in distribution centers or grocery stores.

“Rodents will rub up against a case of bottled water, and through the vibration, know liquid is inside,” he says.

Cooler evening temperatures are also prompting rodents, especially mice, to seek warmer accommodations to ride out the winter.

While commercial clients can’t control weather conditions that force rodents to seek access to their facilities, Park says that they can control the conducive conditions that attract them – namely, sanitation and poor construction or maintenance practices.

Park was recently called to inspect the alleyway behind a group of restaurants in northern California where virtually every trash can or dumpster was overflowing with garbage.

“We noticed more than 50 rats coming in and out of a dumpster, and on security camera footage, noticed 20 rats foraging in an eight-inch space between two buildings,” he says. “The rats were comfortable being in close proximity to humans, and that increased the risk of cross-contamination from rodents crawling on outdoor tables or serving stations overnight.”

What is the best defense again rodents? Park says the first step is to establish good sanitation protocols and make sure all employees follow them consistently.

Properly disposing of trash in sealed containers, having dumpsters emptied regularly, cleaning up excess food waste and water from production lines, performing regular deep cleaning of food processing, storage, and transportation equipment, and removing shipping pallets and clutter are essential elements of any sanitation program.

Park says that eliminating the source of attraction in your facility – for example, an odor emanating from inside a building that will make rodents want to check it out – will lessen the threat.

The second step to an effective rodent management program is to deny these furry interlopers access in the first place. Park says that looking at your facility from a rodent’s point of view can help you identify the physical gaps that leave you vulnerable.

“Mice only need an opening of a quarter-inch to get inside, and most of these gaps go unnoticed on a daily basis,” he says.

With this in mind, conduct a thorough inspection of the exterior of your facility with your maintenance department and pest management partner to spot gaps and openings from the foundation to the roof, and use the proper materials when taking corrective actions.

Park advises that you identify vulnerable areas inside your facility as well, including the gaps at the base of shelving units or refrigeration units in retail facilities, and take any proper corrective actions.

The final element in an effective rodent program is education, and Clark works closely with clients to train employees to spot the signs of rodents and the conditions that attract them.

“A Clark technician is only at a facility for a set period of time, and we need employees to be our eyes and ears and point us in the right direction of where they noticed rodent activity,” Park says.

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business and can help you design and execute an effective rodent or insect management program, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.