Dale Hudson from Syngenta shares his tips on how to keep rodents out of buildings this winter.

With the onset of cooler autumn temperatures, many pest problems take a break until next spring. However, other pest problems like rats and mice move indoors instead.

Placing a little more bait or a few extra traps when doing the job will not necessarily meet your customers’ expectations for rodent control.

There are a range of precautions you can suggest to your customers to help them minimise rodent problems. Many of these suggestions centre around preventing entry and reducing potential nesting sites.

Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the structure to help prevent rodents from getting inside. Check areas where utilities and pipes enter the structure. Remember, a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a five cent coin, and a rat can enter through a hole the size of a twenty cent piece. Having the tools to carry out basic rodent proofing can help capture additional value for your rodent treatments.

Repair damaged screens in windows, fix weather stripping around doors and install door sweeps.

Store firewood at least ten metres away from the building. Mice can make their nests in wood piles and easily gain access to the structure if the pile is nearby. Never stack firewood or other building materials next to the structure.

Keep storage areas well organised, and store boxes and other supplies off of the floor. Clutter in closets and storage areas provide ideal nesting sites for rats and mice.

There are also a number of tips to follow when cold, damp weather arrives and help prevent rodent control failures.

Inspect your accounts carefully and look for signs of rodent activity such as droppings, rub marks, urine stains and gnaw marks in warm, dark or quiet areas. Move bait stations and traps along walls or other visible runways, as near as possible to the areas of rodent activity. During the winter, you may be able to improve trap catches by using nesting materials such as string, fabric or cotton balls instead of food baits.

When baiting outdoors where bait stations are exposed to damp winter weather, use a wax based bait, such as Talon XT Pro from Syngenta. Talon is formulated to withstand cool, damp conditions without losing efficacy or palatability. When baiting, there are some key guidelines for setting up and inspecting bait stations:

  • Lift bait off the floor of the bait station to avoid dampness, but make sure it still stays attached. Horizontal rods within bait stations can help solve this challenge
  • Keep bait stations clean. Carry a small broom and container for waste material, and do not mix it with fresh rodenticide
  • Tap on the bait station before entering and open it slowly – you don’t want a rat to jump out at you.

Dale Hudson, Business Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management

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