3 Ways To Prevent Rodents In Commercial Facilities In Winter

a mouse in some dirty dishes

Whether you manage an office building, daycare, restaurant, or long-term care facility, your building is at risk of rodent infestation during the coldest months. Take a proactive approach to ensure your facility doesn't become a nesting and feeding spot for mice and rats. Here's what you should do.

1. Understand Why Rodents Enter Buildings in Winter

Like you, a mouse or rat seeks comfort from bitterly cold temperatures. If your area has recently suffered through frigid weather or a wet winter storm, your building provides a toasty warm space for rodents to call home.

When your building is near a wooded area, ditch, or open field, it's a prime target for rodents whose food supplies dwindle in winter. Nearby construction that disrupts rodent habitat sends the furry pests scurrying into the closest available spot, which may be your building's crawl space or basement.

Aside from shelter, rats and mice need a source of water and food. Leaky areas, open food, and smelly garbage are all attractants to rodents. If your facility offers external cover including shrubbery around the perimeter of the building, rodents that are attracted to food smells seek that cover to plan their entry into your business.

2. Stay Vigilant and Inspect for Signs of Rodents

Rodents are prey animals who are constantly on alert for predators. For this reason, rats and mice are very successful at hiding in buildings. They nest in unused closets, drawers, piles of junk, and behind walls. However, there are telltale signs that rodents are living in your facility.

These signs include:

  • Scratching or squeaking sounds behind walls
  • Holes in baseboards and sheetrock
  • Gnawed places on furnishings and food containers
  • Droppings that resemble brown pellets or rice
  • Greasy or dirty spots on baseboards
  • The smell of urine or ammonia

You may also notice random electrical issues if rats or mice are chewing on the wiring in your facility. Not only is this a nuisance, but the wire-chewing can also cause a fire or other electrical hazards to workers, residents, and guests in your facility.

3. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

To prevent or eliminate rodent infestations in your business, you must implement a commercial integrated pest management (IPM) system. With the help of your pest control company, identify the ways your business is contributing to a rodent invasion. Take a long-term approach to stopping the problem.

First, inspect your property for access points. Rodents enter buildings through obvious holes in foundations and windows, but they also use sneakier means to gain access. Consider that a mouse can fit through a space the size of a dime, while a rat only needs a quarter-size gap to enter your building.

An open sewer drain, unsealed cable entry point, or gap under a door is all a rodent needs to get inside. Proper IPM involves sealing up any and all of these gaps. If your building is made of a material that rodents can chew to gain access, install wire mesh around these potential entry points. Use bristle-bottoms on all exterior doors.

Effective IPM also means getting rid of clutter and food smells that attract rodents. Use metal garbage cans and, when possible, locate dumpsters and garbage bins away from your facility's walls and entry points.

Encourage staff to regularly empty their waste bins and seal up any open packages of foods. Use lidded containers for all dry goods in a restaurant or other commercial kitchen.

Clutter is a huge attractant for mice and rats, who use your piles of junk to give birth to babies and hide when people are around. Get rid of clutter throughout your building, including in overstuffed closets and drawers. Move hiding places like plants and cardboard boxes away from walls. Mice and rats prefer to navigate along walls, so removing these hiding spots gives them less reason to enter new areas of your commercial building.

Your rodent and pest control expert, also located in West Columbia, is a key member of your IPM team. Contact The Original Bugman Pest Elimination, Inc. today to schedule a winter inspection of your facility. We'll advise you on proper IPM for your specific challenges and work to eliminate mice and rats now, as well as work with you as partners to prevent rodent infestations in the future.

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