Vacant buildings vulnerable to rodent infestations during Level 5 lockdown

27 January 2021
By Tom Collins

Cork accounts for second highest level of rodent callouts (15%) nationwide

Rentokil is warning businesses of the threat posed by rodents to premises that are lying vacant due to Level 5 restrictions. In December 2020, Rentokil recorded an 12% increase in rodent callouts, when compared to the same period the previous year.

The company advises that rodents will explore empty buildings in search of food and shelter because they offer a warm, sheltered environment where they will be undisturbed. During the current period, the lack of food waste available as a result of restaurant closures, as well as the cold winter temperatures are other major factors that increase the likelihood of infestations in empty buildings.

The top five counties which accounted for rodent callouts in December 2020 were: Dublin (which accounted for 26% of total callouts), Cork (which accounted for 15%), Galway (13%), Kerry (5%), and Limerick (4%).

Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said “Buildings that have been left vacant as a result of lockdown measures offer the perfect shelter for rodents. These premises will be particularly attractive during the current period given the cold weather conditions, as well as a lack of food waste for rodents to feed on due to restaurant closures. Smart pest control measures which utilise technology, as opposed to poisons, are the best, option to combat this issue.”

Members of the public can find out more about rodent infestations, and how to spot them, on the Rentokil website.

Rentokil has seven tips to help prevent the presence of rodents on your premises:

Doors – Fitting bristle or brush strips to the bottom of doors prevent entry, especially in older properties where the door fit may not be snug.

Pipework – Seal holes around existing or nw pipes with coarse grade stainless steel wire wool and caulking.
Holes – Holes are often made in exterior walls for cables and pipes. Check that any old pipework or cablework holes are sealed.

Air Bricks and Vents – Cover these with fine galvanised wire mesh, especially if they are damaged.

Eaves – Fix damaged roofing and use wire mesh to seal gaps.

Vegetation – Trim tree branches back from the property, and where possible avoid plants growing up the sides of your property. Vines, shrubs or overhanging branches can be used for mice to get onto roofs. Overgrown vegetation close to the walls will offer rodents shelter and potential nesting sites.

Lawns – Keep grass mown short to reduce shelter and seeds for food. Ideally, leave a gap between the building foundations and the garden.

Rentokil believes that smart pest control solutions may provide an answer to this problem. Unmanned, non-toxic pest control solutions, such as Rentokil’s PestConnect, a digital solution which provides 24 hour protection from rodents, provide unmanned pest control protection which does not rely on poisons.

Through a system of infrared sensors, PestConnect detects and then captures or humanely kills rodents using automatically deployed bait stations and traps.

Unmanned devices like PestConnect do not require human interaction. After installation, a technician will only visit when a rodent has been captured, reducing unnecessary visits to the site and enabling adherence to social distancing guidelines. The device sends updates and reports to users online.

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