Because mice and rats are nocturnal and tend to avoid areas of high traffic, there can be a significantly higher number of rodents present in a facility than have actually been seen — which is why a facility may be cited for lack of control, even if a rodent itself isn’t sighted. Pest presence also can be determined by signs such as droppings, grease marks or gnawed foods and packaging.
For this reason, the number of actual sightings is concerning, particularly those within facilities and, even further, within processing areas. So, what are these food and beverage processors doing to prevent rodents from coming in and to control those that do get in?
Nearly all facilities surveyed (97%) stated that regular rodent inspections are conducted and rodent traps are used. With rodent traps providing a means of both control and monitoring (with rodent monitoring being conducted by 83% of respondents), the traps are being placed in the following places:
- Near doors. Placing traps alongside or near doors can be the first line of defense to help capture rats or mice attempting to come in from outdoors. Correct placement is essential, with the most beneficial generally being alongside the interior and/or exterior walls flanking the door.
- In warehouse/storage areas. For interiors, warehouse and storage areas were the locations rodents were most often seen. Thus, this trap placement can help capture rodents that got past the first line of defense before they have the chance to feast on the various food options in your warehouse.
- In other areas. Maintaining traps in other allowed areas of the facility, particularly those where rodent presence has been detected, provides further defense against rodent penetration and infestation.
While setting traps is valuable for prevention, continual monitoring of traps for both captured rodents and signs of their presence (gnawed bait, droppings, etc.) is critical to understanding the rodents’ behavior patterns and prioritizing control efforts.
Facilities are preventing rodent presence in other ways by sealing cracks and gaps (90%), instructing employees to keep doors closed (84%), training employees on rodent prevention (73%) and installing door sweeps or air doors (65%).
Nearly all facilities (98%) have both pest and rodent control services, with the vast majority using an external pest control company for at least some of the service. And most (94%) feel that their rodent control programs are successful. The few who did not feel their programs were controlling rodents believe it was because rodents continued to come in from outdoors or there was a lack of buy-in from facility staff.