Rats and mice have become a serious problem for New York businesses this season. While they are year round pests, colder weather drives them to look for warmer places to nest. And Superstorm Sandy has left thousands of rodents as homeless as many residents. That means we are bracing for a tougher than usual rat and mouse problem this winter.
Breaking and entering is easy for rodents
Many businesses lay out the welcome mat to rodents through doors and garage bays left open, loose weather stripping, gaps in basement windows, unsealed cracks an gaps where utilities enter buildings all make getting in easy. Mice and rats are contortion artists—you would be amazed at how small a gap they can fit through. A gap as wide as a magic marker gives easy entry to an aggressive rodent. As you look for ways they get in, don’t forget to look up—many rodents are expert climbers. With hunger, homelessness and cold weather motivating them, your place of business is a sitting target for a motivated rodent.
Prevention is everything
People get tired of the old saw: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” but it is absolutely true when it comes to rodents. Once they are in, they fan out quickly. They bring in other pests, spread disease and aggravate allergies, contaminate food and can damage property. One female mouse can give birth to as many as 50 babies in one year, and each female can give birth to her own litter 55 days after being born. That’s over 500 mice from just one intruder! Once mice and rats are established, they are hard to get rid of.
Three ways to keep rodents out
Here are three things to do to keep mice and rats from becoming a problem for your business
1) Make the exterior of your business less rodent friendly. The fewer rats and mice hanging around outside your business, the fewer rats and mice trying to get inside. Move trash and debris away from your building. Keep the area free of foodstuffs and potential shelter. Place tamper-resistant baiting stations in the area.
2) While it might not be possible to keep employees from eating at their desks, make sure they are not storing food there. Make sure all food in your employee kitchen is kept in rodent proof containers.
3) Consider getting a professional assessment now, as the weather grows colder. A pest control specialist knows what to look for and how to seal problem areas. They will see the less obvious issues and save you an expensive problem.
When you already have a problem
Getting rid of rats and mice is a real challenge. It is difficult for the average person to know the extent of the infestation, where the main nesting areas are, and how rodents are getting in. A few traps and glue boards often take care of a small fraction of your rodent population. Rat and mouse poison in the wrong hands are not only dangerous, they can cause rodents to die and rot within your walls and may just motivate rodents to relocate, spreading the infestation. And exterminator can perform a “clean out” while your business is closed over a long weekend, baiting heavily, spraying inside walls, and sealing points of entry. They come back and remove dead rodents and traps before employees return to work.
Arthur Katz is CEO of Knockout Pest Control, Inc. located in Uniondale, NY is New York’s commercial pest management experts. http://www.knockoutpest.com (800) 244-7378