Create a free account to continue

7 Ways to Pest Proof Your Business During Rodent Awareness Week

The National Pest Management Association has declared this week Rodent Awareness Week as rodent populations continue to rise during the winter months. Learning to pest proof your business, especially those in the food industry and food supply chain, is essential.

South Elgin, Illinois — McCloud Services, a leading pest management company servicing Illinois as well as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, encourages food facilities and other structures to take proper precautions against rodents during Rodent Awareness Week taking place November 16-22, 2014. As temperatures continue to cool across the country, one of the best ways to prevent pest activity during the winter months is to have an exclusion plan in place as rodent populations continue to rise during the winter months.

“There are several reasons for the increase in rodent populations within commercial structures that can pose a number of threats to human health and property,” said Patricia Hottel, technical director for McCloud Services.  “A hard frost or freeze will cause mice and rats to move indoors quickly, as well as harvesting of fields and crops.  It’s important for facility managers to be on the lookout for signs of these destructive pests in and around their property.”

McCloud Services emphasis the importance of pest proofing for businesses as it not only prevents pests from entering a building but can also prevent interior pest movement as well.  Exclusion can reduce the areas where pests can harbor and food sources can accumulate, as well as provide long term control.  “Some accreditation programs like LEED and the National Organic Program, will specify non-chemical efforts as the first step in pest remediation.  Exclusion satisfies the need for non-chemical strategies and can be more cost effective in the long term,” added Hottel.

Aside from being a nuisance, rodents are vectors of a vast array of diseases, such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

Here are a few clues that rodents may be present in your structure: 

  1. Droppings: A trail of rodent droppings is typically found along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, in boxes and in aisles, racks and corners.
  2. Gnaw marks: New gnaw marks tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
  3. Burrows: Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they are drawn to areas that are dark and secluded.
  4. Damaged food packages: House mice and Norway rats will feed on a variety of foods.

There are a few things you can do to immediately to protect your facility from being invaded:

  1. Begin with a thorough inspection of your facility, both inside and out. When inspecting the outside area, look for any potential points of entry for mice and rats around doors, poorly sealed pipe and wall junctures or openings on the roof. 
  2. Doors need to be in good repair and that good repair extends to the timing mechanisms of the doors.  Automatic openers should be adjusted such that they remain open long enough for the pedestrian to move safely indoors but not longer than necessary to allow pest entry. Six seconds is a commonly used time frame for doors to remain open once the pedestrian has cleared the electronic sensor.
  3. If a door needs to remain open for ventilation purposes, screens should be used to prevent pest entry.  Overhead dock door screens are available from a variety of manufacturers.  Screens that fit directly on the door track are preferred.
  4. Doors should be sufficiently tight enough to seal out rodent pests.  You can use a pencil as a tool to determine if a mouse sized rodent can enter through a door opening. 
  5. Materials to consider for proper pest proofing include Xcluder stainless steel mesh products commonly used by most pest management professionals.  Metal meshes can be used to seal holes in walls and floors where mice and rats are moving.
  6. Having an added layer of defense can be helpful in preventing problems.  Vestibules with an inner and outer door can be helpful as a second line of defense in keeping pests out.  Quick or rapid roll up doors can also be beneficial in separating sensitive areas like food packaging and processing from less sensitive areas. 
  7. Reduce conditions around the exterior of the structure which may attract rodents such as food spills, high vegetation, and poorly maintained exterior storage areas.

For more information on pest proofing, please visit

Contact McCloud Services to learn more about their pest proofing services and how they can help resolve all your pest-related issues at 800-332-7805 or at [email protected]

About McCloud Services

McCloud Services, based in South Elgin, Ill., is the leader in food protection services throughout the chain of custody – from grain elevator to grocery store.  McCloud Services is known for its integrated approach to pest management, specifically designed for the food supply chain of custody.  Serving the largest food-related brands in the U.S., the company has earned a reputation as the “food protection experts.”  McCloud Services has locations in 11 states with nine service centers.  For more information, please visit: