Being aware of the signs of pest activity on your premises is imperative to a successful pest management program. Here's what you should be looking out for in order to spot and prevent a rodent infestation.
Pests are any creatures that compete for your food or water, live in and contaminate the environment in which you live, and spread disease. By being aware of the signs and symptoms of pests, you'll be better equipped to address and manage the situation more effectively.
This is also why Pest Control Officers (PCO’s) are taught to do a detailed inspection before doing any treatments or services. Once the pest is identified a more targeted approach can be taken and a better result can be obtained.
Rodents - rats and mice:
Rodents fit the category of a pest like a glove: they compete for your food and water sources, spread diseases, and nest in your space. That being said, you need to understand some rodent facts to better solve this type of pest control problem.
So let's begin with rats: larger than mice, they have some characteristic and behavioural differences, including their eating, drinking, and nesting habits. Their physical characteristics include a blunt snout, small ears, large feet, and a tail that does not have fur.
Rats take about 10 - 12 weeks to mature, have a litter size of 7 - 8 and can have 3 - 6 litters a year, so it is possible to have a serious infestation relatively quickly. The average Brown Rat consumes about 30 grams of food daily, which does not seem like much, but quantity is not the main issue. Rodents will damage stock and food, and spread diseases as they roam and it's highly likely that where there is one, there are many.
Mice on the other hand are smaller, have a pointed snout, large ears, a slender body structure, small feet, and a long tail. Mice reach their maturity in 8 - 12 weeks and have a litter size of 4 - 16 and can have 7 - 8 litters per year. This can end up being an extremely serious infestation in a very short period. Mice eat about 3 grams of food a day, but also damage and contaminate food sources.
Signs and symptoms of rodent activity:
The tell-tale signs of rodent activity are similar for both rats and mice, so it's worth knowing what to look out for.
1. Biological signs of rodents' presence:
Biological signs, such as urine and droppings, are a good indicator of a rodent problem. A mouse can produce over 80 droppings a day and a rat about 35 - 50. In addition to droppings, there is urine which rodents will leave as they move into spaces. Rodents use both urine and droppings as a means of communication and tracking, and these are the cause of the strong odour in areas that have rodent activity.
Rodents have excellent hearing, a good sense of taste, smell, and touch, however, their sight is poor and is more adapted to darker or dim lighting. This is why smell and touch are very important for rodents as they utilize their fur to navigate (vibrissae). This allows them to make contact with objects and surfaces in their surroundings to establish safe routes of passage (in conjunction with smell).
So by learning and practicing muscular movements rodents can navigate their surroundings: this is known as kinesthesis. Whilst impressive, their movements, droppings, and urine spread many diseases.
2. Physical signs of rodent damage:
There are some physical signs of damage to look out for as well - most obviously, gnawing. A rat’s teeth will grow for the duration of its life which means that rats need to gnaw on hard material to keep their teeth at the desired length and to keep them sharp. This dental plan allows them to chew through wood, metal, and even concrete! Rodents will have no problem chewing through packaging to get into food and then nest in the packaging.
Rodents usually go for grain foods, such as cereals, pet food, and seeds, but they will eat whatever is available to them. Rodents will shred material such as cardboard and paper to make nests. This is often done inside a food source so that less movement is required to feed.
To recap, there are many signs to look out for when dealing with rodents, from live sightings, droppings, urine, damages, smear marks, and the characteristic odour.
That being said, you can do several things to be proactive in your pest management processes.
Tips for proactive pest management:
- Keep your teams informed and knowledgeable about pest awareness: the more they know, the more likely they are to spot the early warning signs of infestation.
- Ensure that there are minimal food, water, and harbourage areas available for rodents. This will make living conditions difficult and make rodents less attracted to your sites.
- Ensure high levels of housekeeping are not only planned for but also implemented: areas which are cleaned regularly are difficult for rodents to nest in due to continuous disruption (no droppings, urine and runways to track).
- Make sure stock and goods are rotated continuously - this will also hinder damage and nesting in products.
- Call the experts to assist you in managing and monitoring pest activity.
Professional rat and mice control
Looking for solutions to get rid of rats and mice in your business premises? Professional rat removal is the quickest and most effective way to get rid of rats. Our expert services offer a reliable form of rat control and a long-term solution to a rat infestation. Contact the experts in pest control today for a free site survey.
You may also be interested in downloading our Guide to Rodent Prevention for your business.