If you own a retail space, rat and mice infestation is one of the worst problems. Not only does the sight scare customers away, but it also indicates your premises have unhygienic conditions suitable for rodents. The World Health Organisation has also stated that rodents are susceptible to carrying and spreading the monkeypox virus!
Rodents are defined as ‘gnawing mammals’, according to Oxford. In Singapore, there are three types of rodents commonly seen. These are the sewer rat, roof rat and house mouse. All of them prefer urban environments with conditions such as leftover food waste and garbage, which helps them to thrive.
As mentioned, they are active carriers of diseases. For example, the house mouse’s faeces and saliva spread bacteria and contaminate food sources. Rats are also a severe problem for business owners. If you want to know how to carry out pest control to prevent rodents in your shop, continue reading.
Why Are There So Many Rats and Mice in Singapore?
Due to the pandemic closure in the last two years of, rodent infestation has surged in many countries worldwide. Since many business owners had to pause operations, pest control services have also stopped intermittently. Commercial establishments, especially bars, restaurants, and cafes, were affected. Unattended food and drinks in these places started attracting rats and mice. At the same time, many retail spaces had to postpone their regular pest control services. Hence, this encouraged more rats and mice to thrive and grow.
5 Steps to Prevent Rodent Infestation in Your Retail Space
A 2020 Straits Times report has noted that a pest infestation may be imminent if business owners do not take care of their retail space and carry out pest control. Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) takes a firm view of rodent infestation. Your business can face penalties such as fines or demerit points, which might also mean halting operations. To prevent the infestation of rats and mice in your retail space, here are the five steps you can follow:
1. Make Sure You Have Good Ventilation in Your Store
Rodents stay in warm and moist places. Hence, to prevent rats’ infestation, it is best to keep the store ventilated. In addition, if you have rats and mice in your store, they may not be coming from the outside—they could be living in your walls or ceiling. Therefore, ensuring that your retail space has good ventilation is key to preventing rodent infestation.
Make sure that there is at least one small gap between the floor and the walls of your store and that it’s not covered with carpeting or wood panelling. You should also use steel mesh to cover any cracks where pipes go into the wall or ceiling of your building so rats and mice can’t go in.
Next, ensure enough space between objects in your store so air can flow freely. For example, there shouldn’t be too many items stacked up on shelves or piled into corners, making it harder for air to move around. Finally, ensure your store is inspected regularly by an exterminator who knows how to best deal with rodent infestations in retail spaces. They’ll be able to carry out pest control early before the infestation becomes a severe problem.
2. Don’t Leave Food Out Overnight
Rodents aren’t just gross. They can be dangerous, as they make your employees sick. Don’t leave food out overnight to prevent rodent infestation in a retail space. This is especially important if you have a food stall or a restaurant, but it’s also worth noting that rats and mice are also drawn to any kind of food in your retail space.
If you leave food out overnight, rodents will be attracted to it and may even chew through packaging to get to the product inside. They’ll do whatever they can to get at it, be it to chew through cardboard boxes, insulation, or wallboards.
Suppose you leave food out overnight (for example, in a restaurant), ensure it’s stored in containers that rats and mice can’t chew through. Because rats and mice are known to spread diseases, practising good habits is essential. If all else fails, contact a reputable pest control company quickly. If your retail space has a rodent infestation, your employees and customers might fall sick. Don’t take that risk!
3. Make Sure Your Store is Clean, and Be Alert
Rodents nest in dark, dirty spaces, so make sure your retail store is clean and organised. Clutter makes it easy for rodents to hide, giving them more opportunities to find food and shelter. Rats and mice also can’t resist the smell of food, so if you eat take-outs in your shop, you have to get rid of food packaging instantly.
Retail stores may have plenty of boxes, trash bags or other items from unpacking inventory. Unfortunately, these are places where rodents can hide. Practice good pest control habits by throwing all unwanted boxes away immediately. You should also ensure no holes in your walls or floorboards where rats and mice can enter your store from another location.
If you notice any unusual squeaking or smells coming from pipes or ducts in your building, get them checked out immediately! Rats and mice are very sensitive to smell, so they can smell things our human noses can’t detect. So not just food waste but sewage waste, garbage, and pet waste are possible things that can choke up your pipes or ducts. These items attract rodents with their smells!
4. Don’t Let Rodents In!
It’s not just a matter of squeaking and scampering—rodents can cause severe damage to your store. For example, rats can gnaw on electrical wires and spread disease, while mice can chew through the walls and make holes.
If your retail store is in a mall, check all windows and doors to ensure they are closed tightly. Seal up any holes or cracks with caulk or steel wool to prevent rodents from getting inside in the first place!
However, if you own a standalone building such as a shophouse, you might have to inspect the entire structure more thoroughly and ensure no gaps in the walls.
Here are some options:
- Use steel wool to fill any holes in the wall where they can get inside.
- Try using duct tape over any holes or cracks in your walls that rodents could use as entry points into your store.
5. Use Traps
Finally, if you notice signs of rodent infestation, such as gnaw marks or rat droppings, you can purchase a trap to assess if you are right. You can buy traps at any hardware store, and they will help control the rodent population in your store without creating an unpleasant smell or attracting other pests.
But these traps can be unsightly. If customers were to enquire, you might have a very embarrassing time explaining why there’s a rat and mice infestation!
Pro Tip: Call a Pest Infestation Company
Mice and rats are just one of the many pests that can invade your business.
As a business owner, you’ve got enough on your plate already. Calling a pest control specialist who can care for the dirty work is more efficient.
At First Choice Pest Specialist, we are highly adept at keeping your business premises safe for work and pest-free. So don’t risk your employees falling sick or your customers complaining that your business is unhygienic. Instead, contact us today to inspect your premises and eliminate the rat and mice problem!