Rodents and Warmer Weather

Rodents can be a real issue in homes and businesses. Not only is there a potential destruction of raw and finished material in the business, but there’s a fear with many people just for seeing a rodent, which affects employee state of mind and ability to focus on their tasks. No one wants to work where the possibility for a rodent to run past their feet at their workstation. Preventing rodent presence also keeps the potential for diseases out of the home or workplace.

Some may want to know why they have these rodent issues anyway. Why are they there?

First, don’t overlook the obvious signs that mice, rats, squirrels, or other intruders are present. We’ll focus on rats and mice for now, but keep a sharp eye out for anything.

What would attract rodents anyway?  These exert crawling and climbing intruders are always on patrol for food and water. When they find a good source, they hang around and create a colony, if allowed to.

Look around dumpsters for possible overflow or lack of removal / dumping. Look for where there may be bird feeders, outside pet feeding stations, garbage or trash bag piles, or food scraps that employees or family members may be putting out to feed wildlife.

Some businesses that are located near restaurants may have a greater chance of seeing rodent presence or infestation. Also careless trash collectors can spill refuse while making their pickups and that could also contribute to attraction.

When anyone reports a presence of rodents inside the building, the first reaction would be to find out how they’re getting in.

Rodents of many varieties are very flexible. They can adjust to openings in any structures. Mice can squeeze through openings as small as a nickel, and rats can squeeze through openings as small as a quarter. So look for cracks in mortar joints in block and brick, and open cracks in metal building sheet metal. Other entry points would be poor seals around overhead doors where they contact the ground, entry doors with rusted out bottoms that can’t close properly, doors actually left open during pleasant weather.

Another consideration is that in older sections of cities, sewer pipes can be close to the surface. Whether large or small, pipes can be rough inside from years of scale and rust, can be split with jagged edges, and can be caved in exposing quick vertical exposure to the outside. Rodents have been known to creep up through old drain pipes and pop off the grating covers that sits on top of the pipe. So make sure grate covers are properly secured.

When someone sees gnaw marks on wood products or baseboards, there is a rodent presence. When rodents run, they stay close to walls, so look for greasy streaks along the side along the bottom of walls on baseboard moldings. In a business, look for claw marks, opened food containers in the corners that have been gnawed open. And rub marks will be visible because rodents like to travel the same way all the time, so a clear path will be visible if it is well used. If the surface is dusty, you will not only see the paw prints but as the rat travels along the edges its tail is dragging along the floor surface leaving a distinct line on the floor.

So what can a home owner or business owner do to prevent rodent infestation?

  • Find water leaks and fix
  • Find sources of food and eliminate accessibility, put barriers up to adjacent properties
  • Check and repair cracks and structural damage/openings
  • Set traps of correct size. If the greasy trail is about 1” off the floor, it’s probably a mouse issue. If the greasy trail is 1 ½” to 3” off the floor, it’s a rat problem.

There are many remedies for rodent problems, and consulting a professional is the best recourse.