In both rural and urban settings, we face one of nature’s little annoyances – rodents. Rodents include rats, house mice, field mice, and squirrels. They are considered pests as they can cause property damage and become a nuisance to business operations. In buildings, rodents can destroy walls and chew through electrical wiring, insulation, furnishing, products, and other materials.
Rodents also pose a problem outdoors in the open, whether in yards, lots, waste areas, or other accessible locations. They look for warm, cozy locations to construct nests. Typically, they build nests in or around vehicles (cars, trucks, RVs, campers, etc.) and contractor equipment that is rarely used. It’s important to identify and resolve the presence of rodents before they build nests and multiply, which increases rodent activity.
Rodents can use the following as nesting materials:
- Insulation found within building walls, vehicle parts, and equipment
- Ducting and air filtration components in heating and air conditioning systems
Rodents can construct their nests in the following locations:
- Inside of buildings (attics and crawl spaces)
- Inside of vehicles (engine compartments, headliners, gloveboxes, on or under vehicle seats, trunks, and spare tire compartments)
- Outside of vehicles (taillight and headlight access areas and enclosures)
- Within equipment (engine and tool compartments)
If buildings, vehicles, and equipment are left unattended and unoperated for long periods, there is a high chance of rodents finding their way in and nesting.
Signs of destruction
There are signs that can alert you to the fact that rodents are infesting your building, vehicle, or equipment. Common signs to be on the lookout for are chew marks, droppings, tracks, holes, grease marks, musky or rotting odours, and noises. If you notice any of these signs, it is likely that one of your workspaces contains a nest or at the very least, a rodent was looking around for a place to stay. That’s why it’s important to be aware of signs that could indicate you were visited by rodents. These sensory cues are often the first indications that damage has been done.
The impact of damages
It is very costly to repair damages due to rodent infestations. It can impact your business by resulting in damages to your property, lost operational time (use of vehicles and equipment), and lost revenue (sale of vehicles and equipment). At the same time, it can also be hazardous to your health.
Tips to protect against rodent infestations
- Implement a rodent control program – This can help buildings and occupied premises to best manage the issue. There are rodent control companies who provide these services and can help you develop a program tailored to your needs based on your unique premises, as well as the rodents identified in your geographical area. They can also provide ongoing inspections and monitoring to ensure the program is effective.
- Park and store vehicles (RVs, campers, trailers) and equipment – Store these in yards or fenced areas where there is no tall grass or vegetation. Avoid storage in fields or wooded areas where rodents are commonly found and likely located.
- Disconnect your batteries – If you do park vehicles inside a building and there is evidence of nesting inside those vehicles, disconnect batteries prior to conducting a full investigation, as well as before any cleaning and removal of infestation. This can help eliminate the chance of battery related fires.
- Seal up openings and holes found in windows, sunroofs, and doors – Look within vehicles, as well as pathways leading to vehicles. If possible, restrict access entirely. If storing vehicles in a garage or warehouse, lay traps (snap traps are a preferred method) and remove food from the area to avoid scents that rodents are drawn to.
- Consider the use of capture devices – Similar to snap traps, you can use capture devices available in the marketplace that are effective in controlling rodents.
- Remove food residue – When storing RVs, camper units, and trailers, remove barbeque units as rodents are attracted to the odours from residue. Remove food, fat food packaging, pet food, and small scraps of food that may be on the floor of vehicles.
- Use essential oils or commercial products – Treat vehicles or equipment with essential oils or commercial products that emit rodent repellent smells. There are many products on the market that are sold by a variety of retailers, from mainstream hardware stores to industrial supply vendors. These products may need to be reapplied on a regular basis to maintain their effectiveness. Pest control companies can provide solutions on effective rodent control measures as well.
- Sprinkle cedar shaving, sawdust, or mulch – Do this in the areas that vehicles and equipment are kept. These materials contain phenols that emit a strong smell and repulse rodents.
- Ultrasonic devices – Use devices that emit a high-pitched sound, such as ultrasonic devices, to repel rodents. These rodent repellents work by emitting sound waves that can cause confusion, convulsions, and ultimately, they have the ability to kill rodents.
- Inspect the exterior and interior of vehicles on a regular basis – This should be done whether the vehicle is used often, abandoned, stationary, or only garaged for the season. This helps prevent the colonization or infestation of a vehicle. When starting a vehicle that has been idle for an extended period, air out the vehicle and inspect the air intakes and filters before starting the engine.
Rodent control is a matter to prioritize. Although rodent issues are common, there are steps you can take to minimize the problem and to help prevent losses. Remember to perform a routine inspection of your workspaces and storage areas, and to utilize repellents and devices that can help protect your property from damages and costly claims.
Be prepared with the right coverage for your business
But you can’t always stop things from going wrong, which is why it’s so important to have the appropriate coverage in place. Visit our business insurance page to learn more.