If only rodents were like a rainy day, they’d move on when done. Unfortunately, rodents aren’t like the weather, and are not only a nuisance but also a threat to food safety and public health.
Fall is the time of year when we see rodent activity spike across Sprague’s diverse service areas as the furry creatures seek warmer harborage spots and new food sources.
What is the rodent forecast for this fall and winter?
Jeff Weier, technical director for Sprague, anticipates higher levels of rodent pressure for exterior dwelling rodents including Norway rats, deer mice and voles.
“Most of the states Sprague services experienced extremely wet spring weather conditions and that allowed plant materials to grow in abundance and provide rodents with readily available and plentiful food sources,” says Weier.
Weier says monitoring data and client feedback has shown an increase in rodent pressure in the Puget Sound region, and in Oregon and Colorado that is likely to continue through late November and December. Clients in California however, typically wait longer for rodent pressure to subside since warmer temperatures last longer into the season.
What can commercial clients do to reduce rodent pressure on the outside of their facilities? Weier recommends:
- Keep vegetation cut and trimmed around structures
- Remove clutter away from buildings including shipping pallets, garbage bins, etc. that provide shelter for rodents
- Stay on top of building maintenance and exclusion practices
“As temperatures drop and outdoor food sources become scarcer, rodents will begin to look elsewhere – inside structures with easy access – for shelter and food,’ says Weier. “This is why exclusion practices are so important. You can’t overcome poor exclusion practices with more stations or traps.”
Denying rodents access to your facility with good building maintenance and exclusion is only part of an effective winter rodent management program.
In Weier’s experience, rodents are more likely to be introduced into a facility inside with incoming product shipments than through openings in the foundation or an open door.
“It is very important for clients to carefully inspect incoming shipments for signs of rodent activity including damaged packaging, spilled product, shredded paper and droppings,” adds Weier. “Taking the time to properly train employees to spot rodent activity will eliminate a lot of headaches and expense down the road.”