May 2017 Archives

Commercial rodent control dc concrete planters with rat nestsA rodent infestation isn’t something that any business likes to confront. Often, when evidence of rodents – most often rats – is discovered, they are settled in and their numbers are most likely staggering. It’s bad enough to see a rat scurry across your patio or worse, inside you facility, but the problem they bring with them such as droppings, disturbed soil, and multiple diseases are nothing to be ignored. Rodent problems are particularly bad in densely-populated urban areas such as cities like Washington, DC. Commercial rodent control in DC continues to be a booming industry, but it’s important to note that not all DC rodent control companies are created equal.

When people have a rodent control problem their first inclination is to call a pest control company. You know — the kind of company that handles all kinds of pest problems from cock roaches and ants to mice and rats to even bats and raccoons. These kinds of companies are also typically referred to as “exterminators.” Their pest control methods consist primarily of lethal tactics such as the use of poisons and kill traps. Such methods may temporarily appear to bring things under control, but they are far from permanent solutions. That’s why they rope you into a monthly contract so they can keep coming back and keep charging you!

Effective commercial rodent control methods deal with rats at the source. In urban environments, rats are attracted to food sources, which come in the form of dumpsters and trash cans. There are certainly plenty of these kinds of trash receptacles containing tasty remnants from some of the finest dining establishments in DC! Rodents swarm to them and then make their nests in close proximity so they always have ready access to a great food source. Dumpsters are usually located in alleys and even businesses that aren’t in the food service business are in scurrying distance of rodents.

The other essential ingredient in the life of a rat is a warm and safe place to call home. Rats will build their nests almost anywhere. These locations can be indoors, but if the food source is outdoors, then it’s much more convenient for rodents to locate their nests outside as well. Rats are particularly good a burrowing and are efficient earth movers. Ideal outdoor locations for rodent nests are underground in garden beds, raised planters, and even directly underground in grassy areas. Rodents are also superb gnawers and can easily gnaw through plastic foliage containers where they then build their nests.

Besides providing warmth and shelter from the elements, rodent nests as their name implies, are where rats breed the next generation. A pair of rats can breed two thousand offspring within their short lifespans, so there is always a ready supply to keep up the population. Typically, for each rat you encounter, there are hundreds more lurking nearby hidden away!

The first step in dealing with a rodent problem is to look for evidence of where they’ve built nests. Small mounds of dirt and plant debris are often a positive indicator of their presence. Uncovering holes leading into rodent tunnels is conclusive proof that they’ve infested a commercial property.  It’s also important to examine the inside of a facility to uncover evidence that rodents have made it to the interior. If evidence exists that rats have made it inside, then the next step is to locate ingress points and make plans to seal them in order to prevent others from wriggling into a commercial property.

Several strategies are available to keep rodents from making themselves at home on the perimeter of a commercial property. Sealing holes in grassy areas with stones or concrete is usually the best approach. In the case of planters they are often constructed with concrete retaining walls directly on top of uncovered ground making it extremely easy for rodents to simply burrow up and under the sidewalls. Once inside they can construct an elaborate tunnel system to connect their nests. Sealing these planters requires complete removal of all plant material and soil. The foliage contained in these exterior landscaping designs doesn’t come cheap and it’s critical that it be carefully unearthed and preserved during the rodent-proofing process.

Sealing the bottoms of exterior planters begins with measuring and cutting heavy gauge wire mesh that rodents can’t gnaw through. This is followed by an application of fresh soil and replanting of the excavated foliage. Exterior rodent-proofing operations are best performed late at night when customers and tenants are not at the facility. The process of excavating soil disturbs rodent nests and rodents will come scurrying out in droves – not a sight most business owners would want to subject their customers to!

The rodent problem in cities such as Washington, DC is only growing worse and is exacerbated by widespread development within the city center. Construction disrupts existing rodent nests and forces them to seek new locations to make their homes, often in nearby developed areas. Total elimination of rodent pests is nearly impossible since they will always have a ready supply of food and shelter within urban areas. The only viable recourse for commercial property owners in such situations is one that addresses the problem at the source by constructing the necessary barriers on the perimeter.

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