As you prepare your facility for winter weather, you need to think beyond snow and ice. Some pests like rodents are actually more active in the winter months as they seek food, water and shelter indoors. Rats and mice aren’t hibernators, so they must continuously feed throughout the winter to keep warm. Food processing, handling and storage facilities have everything rodents need to survive.
Unfortunately, rodents can cause serious problems for your business. Rats and mice pose a significant health risk, not only to your employees but also to your products. Rodents are known carriers of more than 35 diseases-causing pathogens, including the plague bacteria, salmonella and Hantavirus. Because they have tiny bladders, rodents expel urine and feces almost constantly, leaving a trail of these disease-spreading pathogens and contaminants throughout your facility that can contaminate your products, causing food poisoning and spoilage, which can lead to significant economic loss. Rodents also can physically damage your property as they gnaw and chew on building materials and electrical wiring.
Luckily, there are some telltale signs of rodents that can help you detect their presence before they create a major infestation problem. Educate your employees on these signs to look for:
Staying ahead of a rodent problem is critical because these pests reproduce rapidly. If a rodent feels safe, warm and sheltered, it will start reproducing. Mice can produce eight litters every year, with four to seven pups in a litter; rats produce about six litters a year, each with eight to twelve pups. And with some rodents able to reproduce in as little as 35 days after birth, it doesn’t take long for an infestation to get out of control.
When evaluating your pest control program, prevention and exclusion tactics are your first line of defense. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach takes advantage of these strategies, using rodenticides as supplementary control and only when needed. Here’s a few things you should start doing today to make sure your facility is ready for winter:
Remember, rodents are highly instinctive, adaptable and difficult to eliminate once they’ve made themselves at home. If you’re worried that your facility might be at risk of a rodent infestation, contact your pest management provider for a thorough assessment.
Alice Sinia, Ph.D. is Quality Assurance Manager – Regulatory/Lab Services for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. With more than 15 years of experience, she manages the Quality Assurance Laboratory for Orkin Canada and performs analytical entomology as well as provides technical support in pest/insect identification to branch offices and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at [email protected] or visit www.orkincanada.com.
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