Posted on 8/19/2013 8:26 AM by Ron Harrison

As much of the country continues to experience rainy weather, pest problems are also pouring in on office and property managers, threatening the reputation and structural integrity of their building as well as the health of their tenants.

Mice and rats become particularly active when precipitation levels are on the rise because rain spurs vegetation, which then provides plenty of food. In fact, the correlation is so strong that many rodent trap suppliers base their production on rainfall.

Along with structural damage to electrical equipment and dry wall, rodents pose a serious health risk to humans and are known to spread more than 35 diseases worldwide. These diseases can be spread through rodent bites; contact with rodent feces, urine, or saliva; or by handling the pest. Preventing these pesky invaders requires proactive techniques and regular maintenance. Using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, you can help take action against rodents this summer and keep them from raining on your parade.

When implementing an IPM program, it’s important to talk with a pest management professional about how to identify and prevent a pest infestation. Here are a few ways to help keep pests from making an entrance into your facility:

  • Train your staff on how to identify signs of mice and rats, which include droppings, gnaw marks, rub markings, and live or dead pests.
  • Rodents can’t survive without water, so check your building for sources of excess moisture. Be sure to clean up spills immediately, and inspect any soft drink machines and HVAC units for potential leaks.
  • Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a dime, while rats can fit through openings the size of a quarter. Seal cracks and crevices in your building’s exterior with weather-resistant sealant and add metal mesh to prevent rodents from gnawing through.
  • Trim all vegetation back two to three feet from the side of the building and consider installing a 30-inch wide gravel strip around your exterior. This is because rodents typically avoid being out in the open.

By adding these tips to your regular maintenance routine, you can help prevent pests from seeking shelter from the rain in your building. Be sure to talk with a pest management professional about other steps you can take to help ensure your summer stays dry and pest-free.

Ron Harrison, entomologist, Ph.D., is director of technical services for Orkin and an acknowledged leader in the field of pest management. Contact Dr. Harrison at rharriso@orkin.com or visit www.orkincommercial.com for more information.