Do’s and Don’ts of Rodent Control in a Commercial Setting

If you are a business owner, you undoubtedly are committed to ensuring all aspects of your venture are in optimal operating condition. Towards that end, you need to include on your overall list of objectives maintaining a rodent free environment. Although it is impossible to create a perfect shield against rodents in a commercial setting, there are some dos and don’ts that you need to consider when it comes to rodent control at your business.

The Mission of Rats and Mice

Rats and mice have two primary objectives when they target a business or residence. First, rodents are searching for shelter. Second, rats and mice are searching for food.

Understanding that these are the goals of rats and mice when it comes to attempting entrance into your business assists you in developing strategies to keep them out. It also helps you identify things that you need to avoid when it comes to commercial rodent control.

The Do List

There are a number of items on the do list when it comes to rodent control at your business. These include:

  • Inspections
  • Eliminate entry points
  • Guard the sewer line
  • Guard the garbage

Inspections

A primary strategy you need to employ as part of a comprehensive effort to keep your business rodent-free is to inspect the premises regularly. This includes the interior and the exterior of your business.

As part of the inspection regimen, you need to train your employees as to what to look for when it comes to evidence of the presence of rodents on the premises. The moment you detect signs of the presence of rodents on the premises, you need to take action. You need to keep in mind that rodents are very prolific and a small number of rats or mice can turn into a large infestation in very little time. For example, a female mouse can have up to about 35 litters a year, each litter containing an average of five to six pups (pups being the name ascribed to baby mice).

The signs of a rodent infestation that you need to bring to your team’s attention include:

  • Rat or mouse droppings
  • Gnaw marks (on objects, walls, and elsewhere)
  • Scratch marks (along baseboards, on objects, and elsewhere)
  • Scratching sounds
  • Scurrying sounds
  • Squealing
  • Visual sightings of a rat or mouse

Keep in mind that rodents are largely, although not exclusively, nocturnal animals. As a result, they are less active during the day than they are at night. Thus, you may not hear or see them during daylight hours. As the evening sets in, rodents will become more active. As a result, the sounds associated with them are more likely to be heard in locations that include:

  • Between walls
  • In the attic
  • Under floorboards
  • Above false ceilings

Eliminate Entry Points

Another important strategy on the do list is to make it very difficult for rats and mice to be able to enter your business in the first instance. Important steps that you need to take in this regard include:

  • Sealing cracks in exterior walls
  • Plugging holes in exterior walls
  • Eliminating gaps that exist around utility boxes, utility lines, and pipes
  • Adding door sweeps

Rats and mice are capable of entering through very small cracks and holes. Thus, don’t assume that because a crack or hole appears small that it means it is not accessible to a rodent.

Guard the Sewer Line

Many people are shocked to learn that rodents are capable of entering a building through the sewer line. In other words, they will venture into your building via the sewer line and pop into your business through the toilet. Remember, sewer lines are generally dry except in those specific moments when a toilet is flushed or water is running in a sink. Rodents are capable of entering into a building by going from a sewer line into a toilet and then swimming the short distance to freedom in your business.

You can block rodents from using the sewer line as a means of entering into your building. You can accomplish this by installing one-way rodent-proof valves on your toilets.

Guard the Garbage

Another item on the do list of rodent control is making sure that trash cans in and outside of the business are tightly covered. In addition, you need to take the trash out of the building regularly – at least daily.

When it comes to garbage cans outside of the business, keep them at a distance. Do not place garbage cans directly against or near the exterior walls of the building.

The Don’t List

There are also a number of important items on the don’t list when it comes to being proactive about preventing a rodent infestation at your business. These items include:

  • Don’t leave food out
  • Don’t build up clutter
  • Don’t let landscaping get out of control
  • Don’t ignore standing water

Don’t Leave Food Out

Never leave food lying about, even for short periods of time. Food is a major draw for rodents. In addition, when food is stored, make sure it is in containers that seal tightly. Keep in mind that rodents can chew through cardboard boxes and even plastic with relative ease. Thus, consider glass or ceramic containers when it comes to storing food items at your business.

Don’t Build Up Clutter

Keep all areas of your business as free from clutter as possible. This includes everything from individual workstations to the breakroom.

Don’t Let Landscaping Get Out of Control

Keep bushes, shrubbery, and other vegetations outside of your business well-trimmed. Keep the lawn regularly mowed. Consider avoiding planting vegetation directly next to the building. In fact, consider installing what fairly can be called a rat or mouse no-rodent’s land. Place about 18 to 24 inches of gravel around the perimeter of the building. Rodents will be disinclined to cross that protective zone to attempt entry into your building

Don’t Ignore Standing Water

In addition to food, rodents are attracted to standing water. Thus, as much as possible, eliminate any standing water around or in your building. As part of your effort to eliminate standing water, check outdoor faucets as well as gutters for leaks. Do the same with internal plumbing.

By following these dos and don’ts, you will have laid the foundation for an effective business rodent control program. Although no set of strategies is 100 percent invincible, you’ll have laid a solid foundation to keep rats and mice out in the first instance.