Cleaning professionals returning to premises left empty during the Covid-19 lockdown could face issues with pests – including rats and mice.
National trade body the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), has issued a new guide to help them to re-open as restrictions ease.
The guide – which is available online – sets out legislation and regulations to consider, as well as outlining checks that should be taking place ahead of re-starting production or re-opening to the public.
Technical Manager at BPCA, Dee Ward-Thompson, said: “One of the biggest threats that many closed businesses will have to face is the possibility of a serious pest infestation, which may have established while their premises were left without any activity and unguarded from pests.
“If you kept up pest management visits then you should be in a good position to reopen safely. If you stopped them, then the worst-case scenario when re-opening your business is that you discover a pest infestation that has been given over three months of free time and space to feed, breed and damage your building and the contents within.”
BPCA has eight tips for being ‘pest ready’ when premises re-open:
- Safely secure all food sources from pests
- Check access points are sealed
- Perform thorough cleaning and hygiene process
- Check condition of pest management equipment, eg fly screens
- Visit site to perform routine maintenance and pest activity check
- Follow pest prevention tips in the Pest Ready guide
- Conduct a back-to-work pest inspection with your pest management company
- Get a good pest management company on your books – find one in your area with bpca.org.uk/find
BPCA members have reported a surge in rodent activity during the lockdown, with call outs to rats up by 51 per cent and call outs to mice rising by 41 per cent.
Rodents are common and won’t only damage the food they actually want; but will also gnaw through other packaging, as well as wood, cables and some soft metals. This behaviour can cause serious damage such as burst water pipes, faulty electronics and, in rare circumstances, pose a fire risk.
BPCA’s free online guide explains the breeding cycles and habits of rats and mice, highlighting the speed with which they can become a serious issue.
It also lists measures that can be taken to deter pests from entering a building in the first place, explains when and how to call in a pest control company as well as including a handy checklist of tasks to tick off before opening the doors to staff and customers.
To download a copy of the free guide visit: bpca.org.uk/pestready