Do you know the safest way to clean up after a rodent infestation? Andy Knox from Bell Laboratories provides some helpful tips.
After the successful elimination of a domestic or small commercial rodent infestation, cleaning up is the next order of business. However, when it comes to rodent infestations, both pest managers and customers must take additional precautions to protect themselves from potential diseases.
Introduced rodents can carry contagious bacterial diseases such as leptospirosis and typhus fever. One way these diseases can be contracted is through eating food or drinking water contaminated with urine from infected rodents. The second way is by coming into contact with urine or droppings, either from direct touching or through the inhalation of contaminated dust or soil particles.
For pest managers, a normal site clean-up operation might involve sweeping or vacuuming the infected area, but in the case of rodent infestation, such action can cause potentially contaminated particles to become airborne. These particles can then enter the skin or mucous membranes (such as inside the nose), leading to potential infection.
When cleaning up after an infestation, professional pest managers should not only take precautions themselves, but advise their customers to do the same. Bell Laboratories recommends giving the advice below.
It is essential to wear gloves throughout the cleaning process as diseases can be transferred by direct contact between humans and rodent urine and droppings. It is also useful to change gloves throughout the clean-up process to avoid contaminating other surfaces.
Avoid sweeping or vacuuming
Rather than sweeping or vacuuming rodent droppings, nesting material and rodent hair, the recommendation is to use a damp cloth or paper towel with disinfectant. All clean-up cloths and paper towels must be disposed of.
Infected areas should be sprayed either with disinfectant or a dilute bleach solution, one and a half cups of bleach to four litres of water (1:9 ratio). Spray infected areas well, and leave the bleach or disinfectant in place for five minutes.
Disinfect – everywhere
It isn’t only areas with visible mouse activity or urine/droppings that should be cleaned; rodents carry bacteria on their hair and feet as well, travelling in areas that may not be obvious. Floors and countertops throughout the entire premises must be cleaned.
Thoroughly wash hands and clothing after cleaning up from a rodent infestation. For particularly heavy infestations, it may be worth purchasing disposable plastic overalls that can be disposed of at the end of the task. Simply ensuring hands and clothes are clean at the end of the job can help prevent contamination.