Rodent-proofing and exclusion work are essential to ensure you don’t simply remove one colony of rodents only to have the next group move right in. Remember, mice can squeeze through a hole the size of your little finger (or a U.S. dime), and rats through a hole the size of your thumb (or a U.S. quarter).
Finding these points of entry is much easier in a clean environment, so make sure you tidy-up first. Some ingress points will be obvious, especially around doors and windows. But pay special attention to parts of the building where joists, pipes and cables enter and leave; any holes made to accommodate these provide easy access for rodents. And don’t forget sewers — even small pipes can become a rodent superhighway. Other factors to keep in mind include:
- Repair leaking taps and pipes inside and out, to deny rodents water.
- Pest-proof drainage and sewer pipes by fitting them with grilles, flaps, wire mesh or other suitable materials.
- Seal the bottom of doors, especially if they have been chewed, with metal kickplates and make sure they are kept shut.
- Keep all windows maintained, and ensure they do not provide easy points of entry.
Pay attention to broken roof tiles, brickwork and foundations, as these provide easy access into loft and cavity wall space.
- Make sure all foodstuffs are kept in rodent-proof containers — or rodent-proof the containers they are in. Either way, ensure any spills are cleaned up immediately.
- Seal any gaps, cracks and holes in wood, brick, PVC or metal with an exclusion product that provides a permanent barrier that rodents cannot gnaw through.
- Make sure your customer understands the importance of avoiding the creation of rodent access routes and harborage when they are moving things around or undertaking maintenance and building work.
- If you are tackling a large infestation, consider leaving a well-used, easily accessible rodent ingress point available to make baiting easier during cleanout.
- Proofing and exclusion work may be costly and require frequent maintenance, but good housekeeping and building upkeep should be everyone’s priority.
- The lack of such is precisely what invites pests — and it is far easier to prevent an infestation than to eradicate one.
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