Tips for rodent prevention and extermination
It is often said that the most threatening pest in the food industry is the rodent. Rodents have been implicated in over 55 widespread diseases, with a range of pathogens stretching from parasitic worms to viruses.
Not only are rodents responsible for contamination, they can also cause considerable loss of supply, damage to your premises, and even potential fire hazards. This blog will explain best practices and procedures for dealing with rodents.
Dealing with severe rodent infestation
What makes rats particularly troublesome is their rapid life-cycle, which stems from a high birth rate, short-life spans, and high death rates. The speed at which they breed means a few overlooked or ignored rats can quickly become a severe infestation. Rats are capable of producing ten or more young every three weeks.
What damage can rodents cause in a warehouse?
Most rats are granivorous (seed-eaters), but when short of food they will eat almost anything. They gnaw to reach previously inaccessible areas, which can cause considerable damage to your facility, ruin your stock, and expose wires which can become a serious fire hazard.
The signs your warehouse may have a rat infestation
Signs of rat infestation include droppings, visual identification, gnawing sounds, oil marks from fur, tracks in dusty areas, worn insulation wires and urine (detectable under UV).
By using any one of these signs you can determine a lot about the extent of your problem. For example:
What information can you determine from rat droppings?
- The shape and size of droppings can inform you about the population. 10-12mm long and 5 mm in diameter are rats, while around 4 mm in length and 1mm in diameter are mice.
- If the droppings consist of multiple sizes, you may have a population consisting of both young and adults, which suggests the population is growing.
- If the droppings are soft and glistening they are fresh, which suggests that live rodents are still present.
- Are the droppings distributed or located in one area? Brown rats are known for having a dedicated latrine area, and dropping distribution can indicate their presence and its extent.
- How many droppings? Rats produce about 40 a day so the number can be a strong clue as to how many rodents are present on the premises.
These simple observations can help you take a quick first look at any problems you have. Note that we advise seeking a professional opinion to help you create the right course of action and elimination.
Rodents are mostly nocturnal, so sightings during working hours may be rare. A sighting during the daytime either means a heavy infestation or a disturbed nest.
What you can do about rodents in your warehouse
1) Prevention of rat infestation
There are many prevention and extermination procedures that can be followed. One of the most effective strategies is having a well designed and consistently clean facility. This will discourage rodent inhabitation in the first place.
By segmenting your facility and keeping important areas consistently sealed you can create multiple controlled zones and make pest control much easier. High speed doors are very effective for keeping secure food areas open for the minimum amount of time possible and firmly sealed for the rest of it.
2) Extermination of rodents
It's important to have a system where all rodent sightings can be reported. Sightings should also result in immediate remedial action and this action must also be recorded.
Part of the extermination process involves eliminating harbourages such as old pallets or equipment. Ensure you remove rubbish from the premises and exterior perimeter, along with all water sources including pools of water, dripping from refrigeration, or leaks in the roof. Rats need to drink at least once a day and will not survive in an area that does not provide a water source.
When eliminating rodents there are numerous chemicals and traps that you can resort to. It is important to note though that most rats show much hesitation and fear in approaching new elements of their environment, so it may take some time for traps to work. Take care to place traps out according to a mapped plan. They should be monitored and accompanied by a record so that pest control can be easily moderated and focused.
An effective control can also involve performing the treatment or trap checking in an irregular or anti-clockwise direction every few inspections may help you pick up on things you didn’t spot before. It is also important to think of unexpected areas. Black rats are infamous for their ability and preference for climbing. This means ducts, rafters and roofing should most definitely be considered as part of any pest control program.
Find out more about warehouse pest control
If you work in the food industry, you must have a consistent system of monitoring, auditing and review in place.
If you would like more information about creating a warehouse pest control and management plan contact the expert Remax team online or call 1800 010 221.