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PEST CONTROL


PREVENTATIVE MEASURES


While the flooding that has hit the north of England finally appears to be subsiding, David Cross, Head of Technical Training at Rentokil Pest Control, offers some advice for those wanting to avoid any flood-related pest infestations.


As the clean-up effort continues in the north of Britain following the devastating storms Desmond and Eva, residents and businesses should be aware of the increased pest and rodent risks as a result of the extreme weather conditions. Floods in particular can create a hotbed of pest-related issues that may go undetected initially. Without detection and treatment, these can escalate and become a significant source of damage in the future.


Floods displace a great number of pest species, most notably rats and mice. As their burrows and nests are destroyed, they often find their way into homes and businesses. This pest migration creates several short and long term risks, ranging from health issues to additional property damage. However, there are several things that homeowners and businesses can do during the flood clean-up to mitigate these risks.


WHY ARE PESTS AND RODENTS


DRAWN TO YOUR PROPERTY? While you’re counting the costs of the flood damage to your home or business, displaced rodents are on the hunt for their next nesting site. They are under constant threat from predators in the wild, and only feel safe when they have a place to hide. As a result, they are always searching for food, shelter and warmth – your property provides all of these.


PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP


YOU AVOID AN INFESTATION Rodents are incredibly agile and can crawl, climb and squeeze themselves into the most unexpected places. For this reason, it’s imperative to undertake the following steps to help protect your property from an infestation:


44 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning February 2016 1


Seal any openings and proof your property


Mice are capable of squeezing through holes and cracks in your property that are as wide as a biro. They are also hardwired to gnaw on almost anything they can sink their teeth into, so will quite happily chew their way into your property from the smallest of gaps. More than a destructive hobby, gnawing is an evolutionary function for rats and mice. Their front teeth never stop growing, so gnawing helps them wear down their teeth to a more comfortable and manageable size. Be sure to check for holes or crevices in your property, such as cracks in masonry and gaps in doors, and fill them with caulk or steel wool. Be mindful that rodents can chew their way through almost anything, from plastic and wood to electrical wires.


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Check your plumbing Rats and rodents can navigate


their way into your property via sewers, through broken or faulty water pipes. All the extra water as a result of floods puts added strain on your property’s plumbing and guttering, as well as on the regional water infrastructure. Typically plumbing is hidden well out of view, so a pending problem may go unnoticed. It is a good idea to regularly, and particularly after flooding, check all your property’s plumbing, including drains, toilets, pipes and guttering, for any signs of blockages, cracks or faults.


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Ensure all food sources are out of reach


Pests will not wait for an invitation to tuck into any food items they find. While it may seem tempting to leave certain items out to allow your cupboards to dry, you could risk


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