With the recent cold snap and snow continuing to grip parts of Scotland, rats and mice are increasingly heading indoors to take shelter.
Some of the more popular places for pests to seek refuge are pubs and restaurants, not only because of warmth, but the ready availability of food.
This poses a headache for the hospitality industry as these new occupants not only pose a major health risk to employees and customers, but can cause longer-lasting damage to the premises and the reputation of a business.
Rodents are known to spread infections such as Salmonella, Hantavirus and Weil’s disease. They can contaminate food and gnaw through doors and electrical cords, sometimes causing fires.
Their feeding habits are destructive and their nesting habits can compromise the infrastructure of a building.
With such high risks involved, it makes sense for any business to proactively prevent and quickly deal with any signs of infestation.
A simple ‘rodent recce’ of your premises is inexpensive and could prove to be the difference between becoming a rat-run and remaining rodent-free.
Tell-tale signs to look out for include:
• smell – a sign of rats and mice is a very strong scent of ammonia.
• sound – listen for scrabbling noises in the walls or floors as you move around the premises.
• droppings – rats leave dark, pellet-shaped droppings that can be up to 14mm in length. Mice leave smaller, more spindle-shaped droppings which are approximately 5mm long.
• smears – grease marks from the rodent’s body can appear on doors and skirting boards as they brush up against them.
• damaged stock – keep an eye out for gnawing marks, ripped food packets and piles of shredded paper, fabric and plastic.
There are a number of ways to rodent-proof your premises, including:
• early prevention – products such as Rentokil’s mouse monitor unit can be used to detect the very early stages of a rodent infestation.
• don’t let them in – seal any holes larger than the width of a biro pen – they can squeeze through incredibly small gaps and chew through all sorts of materials.
• remove sources of food – store food and food waste in glass or metal containers and regularly clean under stoves, refrigerators and cupboards.
• cleanliness is key – dirty and messy areas will attract mice so it’s best to keep clutter to a minimum.
• Julie Birch is marketing manager for Rentokil Pest Control.
Image – Julie Birch says prevention is key.