Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation


Featured Implementation Packages

- - - - -

From Detection to Defense: Mastering Rodent Control in Your Facility

rodents pest control pest prevention IPM

As a business owner, you have a multitude of challenges to contend with, but one of the most insidious and damaging threats to your operations might be lurking in the shadows: rodents. These stealthy intruders not only jeopardize the integrity of your property but can also carry diseases that pose serious risks to your employees and public health.


While post-pandemic activities have helped reduce the amount of public rodent sightings, their threat to public health hasn’t decreased. In fact, these filthy pests can spread dozens of harmful diseases directly and indirectly — like salmonellosis, leptospirosis and hantavirus — in addition to contaminating food products and causing structural damage in buildings. Left untreated, rodent sightings within a commercial facility can lead to ongoing infestations and eventually, failed inspections and stalled operations — a costly blow to your bottom line.


Knowing how to spot rodent activity is essential to stopping them early.

If you notice the following signs around your facility, you might have a rodent problem:

  • Capsule-like droppings
  • Grease marks along skirting boards and walls
  • Gnaw marks on walls, wires and product
  • Nests in dark areas like crawlspaces, roofing and storage rooms
Rodents can infest any facility, but there are some factors that can make infestations more likely. Poorly maintained walls, foundations and roofs can create entrances for these pests along with improperly sealed openings like doors and windows. In addition, standing water, left out food, cluttered spaces and overgrown landscaping can also attract rodents.


Common Types of Rodents


If you suspect you may have a rodent concern in your facility, it is important to correctly identify the species you are dealing with and report any sightings to your pest control provider. Here are some of the most common species you may encounter in a commercial facility:

  • House Mouse: The house mouse is a small mammal named for its propensity to live within human habitats, including food plants. Next to humans, the common house mouse is one of the most prevalent mammalian species in the world. Between five to eight inches long, these rodents can produce 50-60 offspring per year.
  • Norway Rat: Norway rats are easily identifiable by their coarse brown fur and large size, measuring up to 19 inches long with their tails. These rodents may be difficult to spot during the day, as they are nocturnal, however, droppings and gnaw marks are telltale signs that these pests may be present.
  • Roof Rat: More slender and agile with even longer tails than the common Norway rat, roof rats present a unique set of challenges for food processors. These pests are known to build nests at higher elevations, making them more difficult to catch.
  • Deer Mouse: While deer mice are most associated with bushy, wooded areas, they can dwell in indoor spaces as the weather gets cold. They typically build nests in furniture and packaged foods. Most concerning, these mice can spread Hantavirus through their droppings and urine.
How To Help Protect Your Facility From Rodents


So, how can you help protect your food manufacturing and handling facility — and your employees — against rodents? By implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.


IPM programs focus on preventive techniques like exclusion, sanitation and maintenance to keep pests where they belong — outside your business. Most food processing facilities have customized IPM programs in place, especially if they undergo regularly third-party food safety audits. These programs are implemented by qualified pest control technicians in collaboration with a facility’s food safety and quality assurance team to help deter pest activity and prevent infestations.


When it comes to rodents, there are a variety of preventive techniques that can help keep these pests at bay:

  • Inspection: A comprehensive inspection will help identify and evaluate sanitation issues and structural conditions that could attract rodents. Make sure to pay attention to hard-to-reach areas such as drop ceilings, pipe and utility pathways, beneath and behind equipment or appliances, and storage areas.
  • Sanitation & Waste Removal: Regular inspections and cleanout of hard-to-reach areas can proactively prevent rodents from setting up camp. Best practices include:
    • Removing any clutter from your facility, including cardboard boxes and piles of debris that may be sitting out.
    • Regularly cleaning out interior spaces including desk drawers, vending machines and break rooms to ensure there is no food left out.
    • Keeping dumpsters far from your facility.
    • Addressing any spills immediately.
    • Routinely checking outside faucets and gutters for leaks and puddles.
  • Exclusion: Because food processing facilities receive and send shipments daily, it’s easy for rats and other rodents to slip into transportation vehicles, packaged goods and eventually your building. Exclusion helps keep rodents outdoors by making sure potential entry points are sealed and any maintenance work is being completed in a timely manner. These tactics can include sealing cracks and crevices that rats can slip through, installing weatherstripping and door sweeps.
Now that you know how to spot signs of rodent activity around your facility and tips you can implement to reduce their impact on your business, don’t forget to review your IPM plan with your pest control provider. Rodent activity fluctuates with the seasons and a reliable pest control provider will regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your IPM plan to make sure food safety remains a top priority. If you don’t have an IPM program in place or a reliable pest control provider, now’s the time to implement one before you have a costly pest issue.




Posted Image


Benjamin Hottel, PhD, BCE, PCQI
Technical Services Manager, Rollins, LLC


Benjamin Hottel is a Technical Services Manager for Rollins. He provides technical support and guidance across all Rollins brands in the areas of training and education, operations and marketing. For more information, email benjamin.hottel@rollins.com or visit www.orkincommerical.com.

Share this