The term Rat menace brings an eerie look on our faces. Isn’t it? Imagine a fully occupied running office overflowing with customers suddenly gets a strong stench???? Everybody looks here & there with startled eyes & try to figure out about this stench. Well, it happens when some Rodent dies. I bet you must have experienced this before. As it does not leave a good impression on your customers, you must try to find out a fix to this uncontrollable issue. There is enough material available ONLINE about “ How to get rid of rat menace” in your office but today we shall talk about a very simple solution to this aggravated problem along with a very unique case study at the end of this blog but first let’s understand,
- The basics of Rodent control
- Benchmarked principles to follow
The basics of Rodent control:
Rats & Mice are a nuisance. It can transmit diseases & can cause damage to your material & property. You can feel their presence by seeing their droppings near any food item, paper, plastic, rubber, or fabric. At the first place, it is very important to eliminate Rodent’s attractions by ensuring your food is in tightly sealed containers, papers, fabrics in cupboards/drawers under Lock & key, etc. Traps, Glue pads, or poison are not the only solution to get rid of Rodents. You need to possess the habit of keeping “Clean Desk”, adopt the best cleanliness standards across the office premise. First, let’s understand the common Rodents access points.
- Holes through which AC copper pipes or electrical wires are being routed inside, AC duct openings, Exhaust Fans installed inside the false ceiling, Waterline pipes coming inside the building, drain line opening inside the washroom/pantry (Where Jali is not there), holes around sink or doors leading to outside or crawl spaces.
- Building cracks especially in the basement or unscreened ventilation holes in the Loft area, especially in older structures.
- Holes around windows or doors.
- Through broken glass windows/ventilators
- Slightly opened doors (whose door closer isn’t working)
Benchmarked principles to follow:
At first place, you should PREVENT the entry of Rodents, then IDENTIFY the presence of Rodents & lastly TREAT them properly.
Out of three principles, the most important is its PREVENTION. If you have complete control over it, then everything else will be managed automatically.
Recommendations can be of two types i.e. Outdoor & Indoor. In case the Rodent surpasses the outdoor prevention then you may catch it through Indoor prevention. But out of two again the Outdoor prevention is very very important as I shall talk about such outdoor prevention only in my case study. You will be amazed to know this kind of unique prevention. Also, ensure proper general pest/Rodent control at your workplace both Indoor & Outdoor.
For Outdoor prevention:
- Don’t plant IVY on the walls near windows, attic or ventilator as it can form a ladder for Rodents or for that matter vertical garden
- Never keep compost piles near the wall/doors & it should not be taller than 2-3 inches
- Missing………………….. YOU WILL FIND IT IN THE CASE STUDY.
- Cover all pipes/electrical wires/AC copper pipes or any other string leaning on the walls into boxing in such a way that Rodent can’t treat it as ladder & climb
- Don’t install or keep any equipment close to the walls such as DG, SERVO, ODU’s, water tanks or Debris as their fiber shed stand can be used as a ladder for them to climb up
For Indoor prevention:
- Encase all food items in containers. Don’t keep any eatable item open in your pedestal drawer
- Don’t leave any food item or leftover food in the pantry
- Seal the garbage bags & bins with a tight lid
- Ensure the highest cleanliness standards in the pantry especially
- Seal all open holes with a mixture of cement & glass powder
- De-clutter your work area especially stores, rooftop, electrical panel area, DG/UPS/Electrical room
- Don’t throw any leftover food particles in the dustbins
- Avoid cutting cakes in staff area/cabins/meeting rooms
- Wire dressing especially of the server room
Once you strictly follow these three principles, you may feel relaxed. Now I would like to share one CASE STUDY with you that will open your eyes.
Once there was a standalone back office of one Bank surrounded by Trees & green area. At the start of the winter season, the office started facing Rodent’s issues. The Bank aligned their impaneled pest control vendor to catch hold of this issue. In a few days, the entire office got affected by rat menace. The local housekeeping team was on their toes to put control on this but they were enough to take corrective actions only. The local facility In charge was also taken to task about this prolonged issue now.
Every morning before the start of office hours, the local housekeeping team used to catch Rodents from the AC duct, sometimes dead even & from other places also. The entire office was complaining & facing severe hygiene issues. The pest control vendor had used all their material & machines to catch hold of this issue but failed to do so. The Rodents started entering the table drawers (they used to eat eatables stored in the drawers), climb on glass partitions (their footmarks were visible on it), cut wires in the raceways (systems were getting affected), destroyed the Insulation of AC duct, etc.
The problem was reported with the MD’s office then by the employees. A strict advisory was published in the office with lots of DO’s & DON’T’s such as: not to eat at the workstations, store eatables in the drawers, cut cakes in the open staff area, throw leftover eatable in the dustbin, etc but still, the issues was a standstill. The entire facility team, housekeeping officials, pest control team got together & took a round of entire building to check Is there any leftover entry points for Rodents through which they are entering inside the office but could not find any clue.
All the AC pipes/Electrical wires Inlet holes were sealed with cement & glass powder, Rat repellent machines were installed in the false ceiling, glue pads were put but all went futile. Even at last one evening, chalk powder was spread on the boundary wall of the office building to identify any footprints of Rodent coming inside the office premise. The next day morning the local housekeeping team could find few footprints of Rodent coming inside the office from the rooftop. He climbed till the rooftop wall through one tree branch which was touching & tilted towards the office wall.
Finally, that tilted tree limb was cut & detached from the office wall & the office could get rid of the Rodent menace. (This was the missing part in the Outdoor prevention column.) See how can one nonroutine cause can become a major cause for this menace.
The leftover office Rodents were caught/trapped in due course of time. Since then till now that office has been following very strict practices to maintain hygiene & highest cleanliness standards across their offices & following “Clean desk policy” as a preventive action plan. So after reading this case study what should be your take away to get rid of such an issue?
- Preventive measures to be taken always
- Highest standards of cleanliness & hygiene to be maintained at all times
- Close the probable entry points of Rodents at the time of Fitout & implement a checklist to be followed at regular intervals
- Smart pest control vendor to be engaged
The take away of this case study is that: Close all the probable entry points of Rodents at the time of Fitout & implement a checklist to be followed at regular intervals that would have all the basic points, Outdoor/Indoor prevention points & benchmarked principles to be part of the checklist.
Be Vigil about such issues & take preventive action steps instead of its cure later.