5 Ways to Prevent Rodents
Did you know the house mouse is the second most successful mammal on earth and the Norway rat is the third? Humans are number one and we share our successes with these pests. They easily exploit the resources that we can supply in the form of food, water and shelter. Here are 5 ways you can prevent a rodent infestation
1. Seal the Structure
Although pests like rats and mice may look fairly large, they do not require much space to enter a facility. These pests can gain entry at the base of a door or at an opening around a pipe/wall juncture. Mice can enter a structure through openings as small as ¼” or approximately the diameter of a pencil. To exclude mice or rats, seal the structure to make sure all openings are less than these measurements. It is best to use stainless steel meshes or a combination of stainless steel mesh and high-density foam. A sealant “sandwich” can be made using a layer of high density foam with a layer of stainless steel mesh, tucked in between a second layer of foam. This strategy is particularly useful when sealing cracks in floor expansion joints. Avoid the use of expandable foams as standalone sealants as rodents can chew through these materials.
Having the proper door seals and keeping doors closed when not in use are key steps in pest prevention. Gaps around the door itself can allow pests to enter. Pest proofing materials like door sweeps and guards should be used to seal openings around the base and sides of doors.
2. Reduce Attractive Conditions Around the Exterior
Maintain a vegetation-free barrier close to the building and make sure trees and shrubs are trimmed back and do not touch the structure. It is recommended that trees and shrubs have a six-foot clearance between the branches and the structure. It is also important to avoid ground covers and low growing plants as these can conceal rodents and rodent burrows.
3. Check Incoming Shipments
Mice do not have a water requirement and can easily be brought in on dry product shipments. As long as they have the food and harborage afforded by that pallet, mice can remain inside the pallet stack for a long period of time. It is critical to inspect and find “pallet mice” before they become established in the facility. The best time to locate “pallet mice” is during the incoming goods inspection.
4. Have a Rodent Monitoring Program in Place
Inspections should be three-dimensional in nature and be cognizant that mice and rats can be in ceiling voids, run along upper beams, and harbor in wall voids and sub slab. Inspect for signs of the pests and deficiencies, which may require sealing, as part of an ongoing program.
Use monitoring traps in areas where mice have been a previous issue. Areas can include shipping and receiving areas in commercial buildings, food service areas, attached parking garages and basements. Install exterior monitoring devices around dumpster/ compactor areas, exterior break or eating areas and areas of dense vegetation that are planted close to the building.
5. Keep Waste Areas as Tidy as Possible
Dumpster and recycling areas are one of the most common attractants for rodents. Keeping lids closed on dumpsters and trash receptacles is important for reducing access and odor plumes from these areas. Recycled material may contain some food debris or provide nesting materials. Items such as cardboard and plastic that contain food should be in closed containers when stored on the exterior.