With the closing of thousands of restaurants and non-essential businesses, the garbage and food waste that was regularly deposited in alley dumpsters, garbage cans or left in trash bags is gone, and the rats are left with nothing, and are being forced into survival mode.
Tacoma-based Sprague Pest Solutions is deploying electronic monitoring devices to help track rodent, primarily rats, activity in commercial facilities that have temporarily closed or have reduced hours.
The devices allow Sprague service personnel to monitor rodent control devices in facilities 24/7 for mouse or rat activity while maintaining a safe social distance. If activity is detected Sprague and the client is notified and the appropriate action is taken.
“The electronic monitoring devices are allowing to us see vastly different rodent behavior patterns in a variety of facilities we service,” says Jeff Weier, B.C.E., technical director for Sprague. “They are in a fight for survival.”
The threat presented by rodents to commercial facilities is significant. Rodent droppings and urine can trigger allergies and asthma; contaminate food, food preparation surfaces and equipment; and spread harmful bacteria including E. coli and salmonella. Rodents can also chew through wood, drywall and electrical wiring increasing the risk for fires.
Sprague’s Weier says rodents are intertwined with humans and react to changes in human behavior and disruptions to their environment.
“They do not store food up; they live on the edge day to day. The reality is they are commensal and eat from the same tables we do, and when those tables are empty, they have nothing,” adds Weier.
Sprague is encouraging commercial business owners and property managers, even those that are temporarily closed, to take the proper steps to prevent rodents from gaining access to their facilities.
Facilities that fail to take the necessary actions, could be faced with investing already tight budgets to remove rodent infestations, and perform disinfection services when they reopen.
Sprague offers the following tips to keep rodents out of commercial structures:
- Stay on top of sanitation and cleaning protocols.
- Inspect all potential rodent entry points at ground level, below ground and above ground, and seal them to prevent entry.
- Use quality exclusion materials installed by a trained professional or experienced maintenance staff to deny rodents and other pests access.
- If your facility has a roof check it. One of the most common entry points for a growing nemesis on the West Coast – roof rats and the vents, screens and utility openings on a roof could be exploited to gain entry.
- Make sure overhead and entry doors remain closed and are rodent proofed with appropriate materials to deny rodents access.
- Keep the landscape around your facility to a minimum and well-maintained. Overgrown shrubs and grass provide the perfect cover for rodents looking for a way in.
- Do not underestimate a rodent’s ability (or resourcefulness) to gain access to your facility. Rats only need a space the size of a quarter to gain access (mice need a space the size of a dime) to make their way inside.