Last Updated on
You’re in your office from nine to five. It’s busy, bustling and you probably won’t spot obvious signs of pests. But, what happens after dark when you’ve all gone home? This is the time that pests like rodents, cockroaches and other nasties have the run of your working spaces.
In this article we speak with Danny Kelly founder and director of Pest-Ex Pest Control who shares with us some valuable tips to ensure you’re working in a pest-free and hygienic environment, and how best to keep an eye out for the following signs of a pest infestation in your office.
Signs of rodents
Rats and mice don’t just give us the creeps. If they inhabit your workplace, they may be contaminating food with salmonella and spreading other diseases. They also reproduce rapidly, so any sign that they’ve moved in needs to be dealt with swiftly.
Your office kitchen will likely have cupboards brimming with cereal boxes and other snacks your co-workers store. Rodents chew through pretty much any packaging to get to the food. They may also drop food along a path as they dash towards their nest. A telltale indication that rodents have been around (and one that you can’t ignore) is if you find fresh droppings in and near cabinets.
If you’re at work late, or early in the morning when things are a lot quieter you may hear scratching, gnawing or clawing sounds coming from the walls or ceilings. Rodents also have an instinct to gnaw on objects to wear down their teeth. Keep a lookout for chewed wiring that leads to computers and other electrical goods in your office, or nibbled files.
If you’re working in storerooms, you may come across a nest behind cabinets or large boxes. You’ll know it’s a rodent nest if it’s made of cloth, insulation or shredded paper. Finally, animals leave a scent trail when they move around a property. This is done to mark their route from their nest and food or water. This is usually spotted as greasy patches against walls.
Signs of cockroaches
Cockroaches are notorious for feeding on food discarded by humans and in messy office kitchens there’s usually plenty of crumbs to attract and sustain them. However, roaches also feast on regular supplies you’ll find in any office such as glue, paper, and other natural materials. They carry with them pathogens and viruses that can make you seriously ill and can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. They need to be stopped in their tracks before an infestation gets out of control in your office.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Small black droppings that look like ground coffee.
- Smear marks. These are made in areas of high moisture by cockroaches as they crawl or rest.
- Egg capsules are dropped by some species of cockroach, but the common German cockroach carries it until just before it hatches.
- Cockroaches shed their skins multiple times, and discarded skins are a sure sign you have an infestation.
- Damage to leather, books, and food.
- A musty smell on items or surfaces where they have come into contact with it. These are pheromones left by cockroaches to attract others.
Signs of bed bugs or fleas
Don’t be confused by their name because bed bugs are not just found under beds or inside mattresses. They can make any space their home, including offices. They feed off your blood but aren’t considered harmful. However, they breed quickly and need to be assessed and treated by a professional pest control technician to put them out of business.
You’ll be suspicious of a bed bug infestation if you get itchy, swollen bites, but this could be occurring at your home. Look for small, red stains on furniture on walls or small, white, sticky eggs in your office. Fleas also infest offices. You will notice bites on your lower legs or spot the insects on the carpet.
Signs of termites
It’s not easy to spot a termite infestation until they have already established nests and done a lot of damage to property. That’s because they consume wood from the inside out. The first sign you may spot is when you bump your chair up against a skirting board, and it crumbles. Behind the paint, termites will have already hollowed out the wood.
A professional termite inspector will use specialised equipment to check for live termite activity, but there are usually some obvious signs of an infestation. This includes:
- Clicking sounds coming from the walls when it is quiet in the office
- Mud trails and tunnels in architraves or discolouration on walls
- Bubbling or peeling paint
- Windows and doors that jam or sag
- Power failures or plugs that stop working because termites are drawn to the warmth of electrical fittings behind walls
Termites and other pests can cause substantial structural damage and cost your company in losses and repairs. If you suspect your office has a pest infestation, or you see any of the signs discussed, notify your office manager immediately so they can schedule a pest inspection.