Did you know an office is like a giant playground for mice? You may be asking – why?
Your office provides an exceptional shelter for mice, it hides them from the cold weather and protects them from predators. To add to this with all the food you leave behind, your office is like a giant all-you-can-eat buffet.
How Can Mice Get Into My Building?
There are many ways in which a mouse, or rat, can get into your office. Mice are very nimble creatures, able to run and jump at great lengths, as well as climb almost any surface. On top of that young mice can squeeze through a gap as small as 6mm (this does of course depend on their size).
One way in which mice can navigate their way into your workplace is through connections between different buildings such as water pipes, cables and other underground methods. This allows rats and mice to quickly move between different buildings with ease.
But how can they get into these pipes and cable routes?
Well, hopefully, you’ll know by now that when a mouse/rat can’t fit through a hole they will gnaw at it with their teeth until they can. Their teeth are very sharp and strong and can gnaw through almost anything. This can include some metals, especially when it’s old and weak, i.e. water pipes.
With more and more buildings being built everyday, each sharing the same pipes and cables, rats and mice are finding it even easier to explore new territories in search for food and a place to live, and this can be your office?
Once inside, mice can find their way around using ‘mouse motorways’ we have created: Cable risers, false ceilings, false floors, wall partitions, lift shafts – quick ways to travel longer distances in search for food.
Did you know the fashion magazine Vogue found a rat infestation in their new headquarters? Read more here.
Another way mice navigate their way into your office from a rural environment is through food pallets.
If a food preparation plant has an infestation of rats or mice then this can quickly spread to other areas. If a mouse finds its way onto a truck transporting food, it will no doubt explore the environment of the new area they have travel to. All mice need to survive is shelter and minimal food and water, plus they can multiply within months.
The more we ship food from one place to another, the more mice will hitch a ride unnoticed – after all they have been doing this for thousands of years, since we started settling down as farmers and it has probably got them everywhere around the world except perhaps for the Arctic and Antarctica.
What Can Mice Do to My Office?
Mice are pretty harmless right? So what’s the big deal if they decide to live in my office?
To put it politely, you couldn’t be more wrong. Although mice look sweet and innocent they can be quite a menace.
If you’ve read our last blog [link to week 4 blog] you’ll know all about the diseases rats and mice can carry, and you definitely don’t want them floating around your office.
Rodents such as rats and mice can spread diseases through their droppings. Unlike you and me mice aren’t toilet trained so they leave a mess anywhere and everywhere,including your keyboard and phone. You don’t want to be touching that first thing on a Monday morning.
Mice also like to urinate everywhere, especially in a new place. It lets them keep track of the places they’ve been and is a way of leaving messages behind for their friends.
When mice urinate in certain areas multiple times you start to get urine pillars. This is where the urine merges with the grease from their fur and creates small piles which look a lot like stalagmites, that’s not something you want to see during lunch break.
On top of this mice and rat urine is also one of the main instigators of the spread of rodent borne diseases. These harmful pathogens could be picked up on your hands or sometimes mix with dust, which, if disturbed, can be inhaled.
Mice are very neophilic creatures, it is in their nature to explore – especially with their teeth. They gnaw at items to test for food, gain passage, or just out of curiosity.
Being in an office environment this curiosity can lead to rats and mice chewing on the billions of cables in your office. This can be anywhere from keyboard and phone wires to internet and server cables.
One of the potential downfalls of rodents gnawing at the wires in your office is the potential to start fires. By chewing on the wires, the mice leave the rubber casing open, which can lead to them short circuiting and catching alight.
On top of this the exposed wires are more prone to contact with water, which we all know isn’t good as electricity and water don’t mix.
On top of the potential fire hazard having mice in your office creates, there is also a risk of losing work. Nowadays everything is done on computers, having a mouse gnawing its way through the power cables can result in computer failure leading to loss of work. Which is definitely not good if it’s something important.
RODENT FACT: A rodent’s teeth can grow 0.4 mm a day!
How Can I Stop Mice Coming Into My Office?
So now you know the risks of having mice in your office, but how do you stop them?
The best way is through a handful of mouse prevention techniques that can be carried out without the help of a professional.
Mice are amazing scavengers, although they don’t need much food to survive, they won’t pass up a free meal. That’s why dirty plates are a dream find for a mouse. Free food with not that much effort.
A simple way to stop mice from coming into your office is to make sure all your plates, mugs, and cups are clean at the end of the day.
Empty Garbage Cans
Garbage cans are also a good place for mice and rats to find food. They aren’t fussy eaters (mostly) and will quite happily eat out of a garbage can, especially if you’ve just thrown away half of your meal deal from the cafe down the road.
Be sure to empty your garbage cans at the end of each day. It’s a good idea to speak to the landlord of your office complex to try and get the outside dumpsters placed a good distance away from the building to stop mice from finding their way inside.
Some infestations have been nipped in the bud when cleaning rotations are changed to ensure offices are cleaned thoroughly at night, not left to the morning, with all the opportunities that gives the mice.
Don’t Eat At Your Desk
It’s very common to see this happening in this day and age, but it’s a big no no if you don’t want to attract mice into the building.
Although eating at your desk is a time saver, it is also an open invitation to mice. Any crumbs or leftover food you leave at your desk is a gold mine for a hungry mouse.
If you do decide to eat at your desk make sure you clean up any crumbs left behind as well as discard used packaging and unwanted food.
Keep Food in Plastic Containers
We all to have our favorite snacks hidden away in our desk, but did you know these are giant magnets for rodents?
A great way to keep snacks near by is to place them in air-tight plastic containers. Not only do they keep the scent hidden from mice, but they also keep your food fresh!
Professional Mouse Control
If you have taken the necessary prevention procedures but still find yourself with some unwanted office guests, then the next step would be to contact a pest control professional.
Ehrlich offers a range of different mice and rat control services, designed to help manage any problem you might have in your office, factory, or shop.
An effective way to control rats on your property is through the use of bait, also known as rodenticides.
Rodent baiting consists of strategically placing bait in boxes around your building. The mouse enters the box in search for food, and has a nibble on the bait.
If you think you might have mice in your office then contact Ehrlich to discuss mouse control for your business.