A pest infestation can be a difficult challenge for any business. Unlike infestations in domestic settings, dealing with pests in an office environment comes with its own set of problems that require different solutions.
Your business may not be in an industry where food storage is a major component, or even public facing, but pests aren’t picky about where they go. If proper preventative measures aren’t taken, then pests are more likely to find a way to gain access to your office.
The impact of pests in the office
The impact of a pest infestation often lasts long after the final insect or rodent is removed.
For a start there is the financial impact.
Pests, especially rodents, can cause significant damage as they gnaw holes to gain and then expand their access in and around your building. They’re teeth can damage furniture, expensive electrical equipment and core infrastructure which can be costly to repair or replace.
Then there is the reputational damage to consider.
While the risk to reputation is minimised in an office setting, there is still the possibility of alienating paying clients or employees and leaving a bad impression. What’s more, it can take only a few taps on a phone to create negative buzz on social media, which can cause unnecessary headaches for all.
There is another, often overlooked, impact of pest infestation that can be just as negative. That is the impact on morale for employees. Nobody is happy if they see their car has been covered in bird droppings.
We all expect to work in a clean and productive environment. When food areas are contaminated, for example an office kitchen with cockroaches, the disruption to regular routine can have a knock-on effect on morale and productivity of staff.
There is also the general disruption that comes from a pest infestation. For example, if areas of the office are closed off, or staff are temporarily relocated elsewhere or have to work from while an infestation is being treated.
Finally, there are the health risks associated with pest infestation. They are excellent vectors for disease and create unsanitary environments wherever they go. Contaminated food and surfaces can be potential hazards to health as can the fleas and bacteria they bring in.
Signs of an infestation:
It is important to recognise the common signs of an infestation, so it can be identified as early as possible, before it becomes more established and costlier to deal with.
As rats and mice often travel along the same paths, the ground they run on builds up grease spots where they go. If you notice the appearance of these dark greasy trails along walls or behind furniture, that can signal a rodent infestation.
Pest droppings are the most well-known symptom of an infestation. Remember, that even if you find droppings in one area, that does not mean pest activity hasn’t also spread elsewhere.
Damage to property
Rats and mice love to chew as their teeth continuously grow throughout their lives. Seeing gnaw marks around the office, around cables and on furniture can indicate a rodent problem. If there is damage to wood, that could be a sign of a termite infestation. If you notice unexplained property damage, it is best to consult a professional or investigate further to find out if pests are the cause.
Rodents build nests to sleep in, often out of whatever material that is available. In an office setting this usually involves shredded paper, though leaves and other bits of detritus can also line a rodent’s nest. You can usually find them in discreet locations that don’t receive much foot traffic, like under flooring or between walls.
Common causes and how to prevent them:
Understanding the behaviour of insects and rodents who infest offices can go a long way in helping prevent them.
The two most common reasons pests will infest an office are food and shelter. Deny them both and they are likely to never call your office a home.
If there is food readily available after hours, like on desk areas or left in an office canteen, pests will take advantage.
To ensure your office doesn’t become a farmer’s market for the neighbourhood rodents, implement policies that minimise food left on desks and in the kitchen after hours. Ensure that dirty plates and food spills are cleared up promptly and bins emptied on a regular basis.
While this is usually under the purview of site management, it usually doesn’t hurt to take a proactive approach.
The same environments that provide humans with comfort are also very attractive to pests. Denying them access to the building, by identifying and sealing all routes of entry can stop a potential infestation dead in its tracks. You need to be fastidious however, as insects and rodents can exploit even the smallest crack or gap.
Similarly, birds can be prevented from nesting or roosting around your office. We wrote a handy guide all about bird-proofing your business which you can read here. It has all the different solutions clearly explained so you can take the most informed course of action.
Consult a professional
Pest management doesn’t have to be a service you call when an infestation happens.
Being proactive and pest-proofing your office can help avoid all the unpleasant impacts of an infestation and can prove more cost-effective in the long term by identifying any problem areas or behaviours early.
We always recommend picking a company that has previous experience working in office environments – as the solutions for businesses are significantly different in scale to domestic options.
In addition, it is usually a good idea to find a company that has experience dealing with a wide range of pests, with multiple solutions for each.
For more information:
If you’d like to know more about pest proofing your office or think you might have an infestation you’d like to deal with, contact Falcon Pest Control and we’ll be happy to help.