Industry News

Invading rodents: what should be done to minimize their impact?

Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.

Within the last few years, there has been increased interest in pest control companies becoming actively engaged in rodent-proofing. In fact, some companies have special crews that only perform a pest-proofing service. It fits into an integrated pest management approach, and it is profitable.

Rodents do not walk up to a customer's house, knock on the door and ask if they can come in. Rodents may wander onto a property, but they enter it for a specific reason, and because they have access to one or many entry points. Take action to proactively rodent-proof and prevent an infestation before it occurs.

Rodent proofing for long-term solutions

Start with some basic principles to formulate your control plan:

  • What conducive conditions around the exterior of the property may have enabled rodents to invade? Debris like firewood can provide excellent harborage for rodents, and high weeds also provide coverage to avoid predators. 
  • Vines growing up the side of a trestle adjacent to a house, bird feeders or small ponds with fish need to be taken into consideration when developing a rodent-proofing plan. The more greenery your customer has, the greater the need may be for exterior rodent control.
  • Food odors and warmth from a structure may draw rodents indoors, but they cannot enter if the building has no access points. Some buildings are so old that total rodent-proofing is financially impractical. However, major rodent entryways still need rodent-proofing and, in these cases, you often have to rely more on rodenticides and mechanical devices.
  • Use aerial Google Maps to help determine where to place exterior rodent bait stations, and where the rodents are most likely coming from. For example, if a commercial food warehouse is adjacent to a landfill, you may have to kill rodents every time you service. The frequency of service has to be higher if rodent presence is high, and a weekly service may even be essential.
  • Your rodent control should involve more than just placing rows of rodent bait stations and/or mechanical devices indoors and outdoors. Go to the property at night with an infrared camera and film rodent movements in and out of the structure. This can make it much easier to sell a rodent-proofing program.
  • Always ensure the interior of a structure is proofed for rodents. Even with the best exterior rodent management program and excellent rodent-proofing, rodents can still enter a structure via packages, pallets or even as someone opens a door.

With the ever-increasing abundance of rodent work and the threat of rodent-transmitted diseases, you owe it to your client to be passionate about keeping their premises rodent-free.

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