Keeping Rodents On The Outside Looking In

Pressure doesn’t bother us but it can be a problem for our clients. Commercial accounts, especially food processing facilities, deal with varying levels of rodent pressure on a daily basis and that is why the Sprague Pest Experts continually explore new methods to decompress that pressure.

The Pacific Northwest’s warm, dry summer has eliminated many naturally-occurring food, water and harborage locations and coupled with fall’s lower temperatures, forced rodents, especially mice, to embark on a mission to find improved living quarters. 

Managing rodents in food processing facilities is a vital part of a client’s overall food safety and pest management program. The potential harm a rodent infestation can cause to a food processing facility is significant.

Internationally noted rodent expert Dr. Bobby Corrigan says rodent management programs should always be supplemented with site-specific analysis and not solely reliant on a “template” approach. 

Corrigan says nothing is standard when it comes to preventing and controlling rodents in a food processing facility and the variableness associated with rodents makes managing them a challenge.

“With rodents, it is not enough to wait until an independent third-party auditor to show up and tell you where things stand,” says Corrigan. “It is important for both parties to regularly review how the program is progressing and react accordingly to new threats or changes.”

The best rodent management game plan in commercial facilities is not allowing them access to the facility in the first place. Successfully carrying out this game plan is accomplished by establishing and following a good sanitation program and rodent-proofing your facility.

Key elements to implementing an effective rodent exclusion program include:

•    Using quality exclusion materials installed by a trained professional or you will be wasting your time and money.

•    Inspect and seal all rodent pathways entering or connecting to structures at ground level, below ground and above ground.

•    Most rodent exclusion programs forget to cover a structure’s roof – one of the most common entry points for rodents with its multiple vents and utility openings.

•    Make sure overhead loading dock and entry doors have sturdy weather-stripping installed to deny rodents access.

•    Keep the landscape around your facility to a minimum and well-maintained. Overgrown shrubs and grass provide the perfect cover for rodents looking for a way in.

•    Don’t underestimate a rodent’s ability to gain access to a building; they only need an opening of a ¼ inch to make their way inside.

What impact will the recent FSMA mandates have on rodent management practices? Corrigan says it comes down to one word – prevention.

“The golden objective of FSMA is to prevent rodents and other pests from gaining access to food processing facilities,” says Corrigan. “It stresses non-chemical tactics with an emphasis on inspections and exclusion. That is to be followed up with very clear, concise recommendations on how those tactics will be executed and compliment a facility’s GMPs.” 

Rodents: Rats & Mice