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Why Are Pests Such a Problem During Lockdown?
Why Are Pests Such a Problem During Lockdown?
It’s important to understand that most pests are opportunistic. They’ll only infest places where there can find something they want, whether that’s food, warmth, or shelter. When workplaces are occupied, they’ll be regularly cleaned and maintained to keep hygiene standards high, which will deter pests like flies, cockroaches, and ants. Cautious pests like rats and mice will often be deterred by the presence of people, so the hustle and bustle of the workplace is often enough to keep them away.
With so many workplaces closed, though, these everyday deterrents are no longer a factor. If there is no cleaning and maintenance taking place while your business is closed, there’s essentially nothing stopping a pest infestation from taking hold.
While businesses should be extra careful during the lockdown, the general public should be vigilant, too. As the number of people gathering in town centres and high streets falls, this will allow pests to spread in highly-populated areas like never before.
What Businesses Can Do
According to the BPCA, pest control is considered an essential activity. This means you can still contact pest control professionals and you can still leave the home to take care of pest control matters yourself.
Indeed, hygiene is more important now than ever, meaning businesses have a responsibility to help control the spread of dangerous pests. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be at risk of a pest infestation, you should take some precautions.
Rodents are set to flourish more than any other pest during the lockdown. They can thrive in almost any environment, and with fewer people around to report sightings, experts predict rat populations will boom over the next few weeks. Brown rats – the most common rat species in the UK by far – tend to live in burrows, but they’ll often move indoors to find shelter and food. Even if you clear out any leftover food from your workplace, an empty office block or high street shop still presents an appealing shelter to them.
Place some rat bait stations around your workplace as a preventative measure – they’re designed to be safe, secure rat traps that don’t need to be maintained regularly. Bait stations are lockable boxes that allow you to use rat poison safely, where there’s no risk of it harming anything except its intended target.
We don’t recommend using spring-loaded rats traps in the current climate – they’ll need to be checked regularly, which means maintenance staff will have to repeatedly visit your building more than necessary.
If the lockdown continues into the late spring and summer, as seems likely, then you might need to worry about ants, too. Ants are incredibly common, but most ant problems can be spotted and nipped in the bud early; before they become a real hygiene issue. If there’s nobody at your workplace, however, ant infestations can quickly grow out of control.
You can make sure your floor and skirting boards are well-sealed to make it hard for the ants to get in, but ultimately, ants are so common and so resilient that it’s nearly impossible to keep them out. What you can do is make sure ants have no reason to want to infest your business by making sure you keep hygiene standards as high as you can through the lockdown. Ensure food cupboards are emptied and that any waste is properly disposed of.
As an extra precaution, you can use some ant bait stations to help take out ant colonies before they get bedded in. The main problem with ants is that, as long as the queen ant lives in her colony, she’ll just produce more ants. Ant bait stations are the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way of taking out the queen and destroying the colony.
Each bait station contains a strongly-scented block of poison. Any nearby ants will break off a piece of the poison and take it back to feed to the queen, killing it. With no queen, the ants will continue to consume the poison until they’re all dead, with no new ants taking their place. The best part about ant bait stations is that they’re completely no-maintenance, so you can set them and leave them for the duration of the lockdown.
The End of the Lockdown
Taking these preventative measures could save you a lot of headaches at the end of the lockdown. The last thing you need after months of stress is to walk back into a rodent- and ant-infested workplace. No matter what your business is, whether you’re a hotel, restaurant, or office-based business, you’ll want to get your staff working productively as soon as possible. While none of us knows exactly what the future holds, it’s important to plan for the end of lockdown so you can be as successful as possible once the time comes.