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Rodent-Proof Your Warehouse During Winter

By Nic Ellis, Board Certified entomologist, Western Pest Services

Winter is upon us. And while many pests are associated with summer heat, the chilly season is a time when material-handling managers are threatened by rodents. Rats and mice get cold just like humans. As temperatures plunge, they’re desperate for manmade refuge—often in the form of warehouses—offering sustenance and shelter. To make matters worse, box clutters are a favorite hideout of these whiskered intruders.

Whether they’re scampering around shipments or prying into packaging, rodents can contaminate material products, which can be a nightmare for sanitation and your bottom line. For a facility manager, the monetary consequences of a rodent problem can be vast. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rodents can transmit 35 different diseases, some lethal. That risk could lead to problems with the Food and Drug Administration, third-party food safety auditors, or customers. In the U.S., the economic cost of rat damage has been estimated at billions of dollars per year; many times greater than any other invasive animal species.

With the constant flow of people and shipments traveling through your facility, there are ample opportunities for rodents to scurry critters into products; rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a nickel. While some rodents prefer rooftop entryways, others burrow beneath buildings, walls and fences. Still others might have entered boxes via shipment. What’s more, these pesky pests are not picky eaters. Rodents love chewing on structural materials common to warehouses: electrical wires, gas lines, support beams, baseboards, sheet rock and insulation. All this gnawing can lead to major electrical damage. One in four structural fires have been thought to be caused by rodent-chomped wires.

Pest problems can quickly become everyone’s issue if left unchecked at any point in the supply chain. Follow these easy steps to ensure that rats and mice don’t take a bite out of your business.

Inspection
Establish a maintenance routine that stops disease-carrying rodents in their tracks. There are many indicators that can signal a rodent presence—or, worse, an infestation.

Prevention
Preparing your facility and understanding how to spot signs of a rodent presence can help prevent an infestation before those persistent pests have entered the building.

Following these steps will help minimize pest issues but partnering with your pest control provider is the best way to ensure that all efforts are being made to reduce an infestation.

Originally featured at Material Handling Network.