The tell-tail signs

Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Pest Control, offers up advice for recognising when your office has some unwelcome guests.

January is not only a good time for personal resolutions, but it can also be used to bring changes into the workplace.

It’s sometimes the simple changes that can make a massive difference. For instance, one of our clients was being plagued by mice in their offices, and it turned out that the workers’ habit of eating lunch at their desks was causing the problem.

So, we suggested introducing a rule that everyone had to put their food in plastic containers and preferably take time away from their desks. Staff were issued with food boxes by the company and, almost miraculously, the mice disappeared – and went on the hunt for free food somewhere else.

If you remove the food source, most pests will go elsewhere. This should be combined with ‘proofing’ the building so entry points are blocked and, if mice decide to return to seek out food, they will find it much harder to get in.

Most people think that rats are the main pest in cities, but it’s actually the mice that cause all the problems and rule cities like London. Cleankill Technical Manager Chris Davis

“Mice can get through a gap the

width of a pencil, so technology is often needed to make sure staff have the complete picture.”

commented: “Mice own London, we just rent the buildings. Rats get the bad publicity, but they are actually happier outside while mice want to be inside.”

Cleankill’s team of technicians face a constant challenge to keep mice under control. As well as a food source, they also like warmth and a safe harbourage. A colony was recently found in a customer’s communication room, and with a bit of detective work Cleankill found that the rodents were using the purple wiring cables as mice motorways to easily get around the building.

Sometimes detective work involves using small cameras under flooring to find out where mice are entering. They can get through a gap the width of a pencil, so technology is often needed to make sure staff have the complete picture. Other detective work sees technicians using special ultraviolet dust. The mice walk through the dust, leaving a tell-tale trail behind themselves.

If you suspect you have welcome guests, look out for very small, slightly curved black droppings, nibbled food containers and gnawed wiring. Mice are incontinent so anywhere they pass through will be contaminated with their urine – which is impossible to see. It’s not just hygiene


problems that are caused by mice. They can cause huge disruption by nibbling cables resulting in power failures or – at worst – fires.

Key advice:

• Act promptly to prevent an infestation from spreading to other areas.

• Check your proposed contractor belongs to a trade association such as the BPCA.

• Obtain RAMS documentation prior to treatment.

• Ask the contractor to provide COSHH sheets for chemicals used on site.

• Obtain a copy of the contractor’s Public Liability Insurance.

• Ask the contractor about their green credentials. • Make sure the contractor is licensed to remove waste.

• Avoid ‘bundling’ pest control services with other services such as cleaning and landscaping.

Avoid contractors offering single-visit treatments for rodent control, as there is a legal requirement to follow-up and search for rodent bodies if rodenticides have been used, and rodenticides MUST be removed from site at the end of treatment.

Preventive maintenance contracts should be considered which comprise four, eight or 12 visits per annum, depending on the site.


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