While mild (cold in some areas of California) and wet winter weather typically tampers down pest activity, rodents are continuing their trend of being omnipresent in and around commercial facilities.
Clark Pest Control rodent specialist Richard Park says rodent pressure continues to be intense in major urban areas including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Long Beach, and property and plant managers would be wise to be proactive to lessen the threat.
“Commercial clients in California will encounter different rodent species depending on where they are located but we are seeing instances where there is a roof rat infestation in a wall void on the west side of the building and mice infesting a pallet near the loading dock on the opposite side,” says Park. “The presence of prevailing conducive conditions allows them to cohabitate without issue.”
Rodents, especially rats, are a product of their environment and control measures including traps and baits are designed to act on the rodents, but If you don’t change the environment or conditions in a facility, they will always find a way to survive.
Park says inconsistent sanitation practices, especially unsecured or overflowing dumpsters on the exterior of commercial facilities, are a driving force behind surging rodent populations.
“You can have three out of four commercial outlets in a strip mall or on a city block doing the right things when it comes to sanitation, exclusion and the like, but it only takes one restaurant or tenant to slack off to promote the rodent population and cause headaches for everyone else,” says Park.
Noted rodentologist Dr. Bobby Corrigan recently visited Clark Pest Control and went along for the ride on a rodent inspection. Park says they encountered an example where poor sanitation combined with an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality created ideal conditions for rodents.
During the inspection of a food processing facility (the plant prepared and packaged pasta) they visited the “boneyard” where equipment was stored when not in use. A cursory cleaning of the equipment had been performed before it was put in the room but not a deep cleaning.
“Not performing a deep cleaning of the processing equipment allowed food waste and particles to remain inside the equipment and become an easy source for foraging roof rats,” says Park. “Since the room was not frequently accessed by employees the rats had the run of the place and no one knew until the infestation was firmly established.”
Park and the rodent experts at Clark are working with facility and property managers to be proactive and emphasize the following proactive rodent management protocols.
- Review and adjust protocols for inspecting incoming shipments before they leave the loading dock and enter your facility. Don’t be afraid to reject a shipment if you suspect it has been compromised by rodents or other pests.
- Keep rodents on the outside looking in and step up your rodent exclusion practices (Read the checklist later in this article).
- Communicate any sightings of rodents, droppings, damage to packaging, etc. with your pest management service provider so they can investigate. It’s better to error on the side of caution than to assume nothing’s wrong.
- Conduct assessments of your rodent management program twice a year with your pest management service provider to identify weak spots and deficiencies that need to be addressed. Make changes based on your findings and review of trend data, and document what you intend to do. Include plant management in the process so they are in the loop.
- Make sure any corrective actions that are noted in your assessments or practice audits are followed up on and documented.
- Pay attention to the presence of other pests, especially stored product pests like grain or rice weevils. These pests and rodents enjoy some of the same foods (i.e. grains, rice, etc.) so if you have one you may have the other.
The Clark Rodent Exclusion Checklist
Rodent exclusion is your first line of defense and can be handled by your maintenance staff, your pest management service provider or a combination of both.
Look beyond the obvious areas for rodent entry – windows and loading dock and entry doors, and to vents, pipes, utility openings, cracks in the foundation and openings on the roof. Rodents are quite clever and resourceful when it comes to identifying ways to access a structure.
- Stay on top of sanitation and cleaning protocols.
- Carefully inspect incoming shipments for signs of rodents.
- Stay on top of structural and landscape management practices.
- Repair or replace all torn or missing window and door screens.
- Replace old or missing weather stripping.
- Install door sweeps to help create a barrier against rodents. They close gaps under entry and loading dock doors.
- Use water-resistance sealant or adhesive to fill in cracks, crevices or gaps in your foundation that could give rodents a way inside.
- Repair or replace broken or missing vent covers with rodent-proof material.
If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you prepare your facility as pest pressures rise, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.