The Problem With Stuart…

MouseFor years I have pondered the success of characters such as Stuart Little and Mickey and Minnie Mouse given there is such a phobia with mice and rats.

It's almost like we want to believe that these rodents are friendly, happy and go lucky creatures that don't cause any problems for anyone.

There is no doubt that they are intelligent creatures – probably more than we care to give them credit for. Did you know that rats can now be trained to 'sniff out' certain items? Latest research has shown that they can not only sniff out these items but they can find their way back to them time and time again, despite the traps you may put in place. Is it any wonder then that many commercial businesses have repeated issues with rodent infestations?

The damage that these little animals can do to a single business is incredible. A rodent infestation will not only cost money with regards to lost stock and damage to the premises but it can cost you lost clientele or business should one be sighted by a customer. The negative PR of a rodent sighting in a restaurant could have the capacity to close a business down.

A single rat can enter through a space two centimetres wide and mice can fit through an opening of less than one centimetre wide. Basically, wherever they can fit their head they can get into. Nathan Whiteside, national operations manager for Elders Pest Control, says "This ability only highlights the significant importance of rodent control, especially for businesses such as hotels and restaurants. It is vital that these industries employ the services of a licensed pest control firm that have the knowledge and experience in dealing with rodent issues in a commercial environment".

Your pest control company should provide you with a comprehensive rodent control management plan that can include advice on the following:

- Eliminating rubbish and the build-up of stored equipment/items

- Making sure rubbish bins are sealed from entry

- Arranging for regular rubbish pick-ups

- Regularly mowing tall grass near the facility

- Do not store items against walls and always rotate stock

Just as important is the implementation of an exclusion zone or potential entry points. This will include:

- Covering vents with a tight-fitting hardware

- Securing gaps around loose pipes and other wall intrusions

- Adding kick plates to exterior doors to stop rodents from gnawing through

- Applying weather stripping to the bottoms and sides of all doors

In addition to these preventative measures, your pest control company should install lockable rodent stations around the perimeters, fence-line, and in some cases the interior, to bait and ultimately eliminate the rodents. These stations can contain both toxic and non-toxic baits, the latter being required for HACCP sites. The goal here is to bait the rodents before they even enter your premises.

Pest Control is a sensitive issue for the food and accommodation industry and needs to be handled accordingly to ensure the longevity of businesses. It is imperative that your pest control company understands this and provides you with a holistic pest control management program that encompasses all pests including rodents. The absence of such a plan could result in irreparable damage to the reputation of your business should your customers ever have a pest experience in your business.

Stuart may appear small and harmless but when left to his own devices, he has the capacity to wreak havoc on your business!

Hayley Brownrigg
Elders Pest Control

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