Like the owners of conventional food facilities, owners of organic food facilities also contend with rodent attraction to the food in processing and storage.
However, conventional rodent control that relies only on trapping and using toxic baits (or rodenticides, which are chemical pesticides) is not feasible at organic food facilities as the organic food standards bar the use of chemical pesticides.
Furthermore, the secondary poisoning from certain rodenticides and the soil and water pollution by rodenticides not consumed by rodents are among serious concerns about the use of rodenticides in rodent control.
While trapping rodents once they are inside a building is a conventional approach to rodent control, the question is, why wait for rodents to enter a facility?
Why not prevent rodents by ensuring the cleanliness and storage outside a building do not favour rodents through harbourage?
Even when the building exteriors are inhospitable to rodents, some mice and rats may still enter a facility.
Creating a rodent-proof perimeter is important to prevent such accidentally invasive mice and rats.
While our ten tips in this blog post discuss various approaches to rodent control, as the marketers of the Rodexit All-In-One rodent seal, we recommend its use as a key rodent prevention measure.
In this detailed blog post, we present tips to help organic food facilities control rodents at their premises using non-chemical methods, including sanitation, rodent exclusion, and habitat reduction.
At Giridhar Pai Associates LLP, we strongly believe that building managers can control rodents at an organic facility without relying on toxic chemical pesticides such as rodenticides by switching sanitation, rodent exclusion and habitat reduction.
Like any pest management, rodent management must also follow an integrated approach of sanitation, exclusion, and creation of a pest-unfavourable habitat.
By relying on those three methods, it is possible to reduce rodents entering a facility drastically.
When we reduce the number of rodents that may enter a building to few by sanitation, exclusion and habitat reduction, it is easier to effectively trap and prevent them from contaminating food or damaging property at an organic food facility.
In this blog post, we have listed below ten steps to minimise rodent occurrence and control rodents without using rodenticides at an organic food facility.
1.Sanitation: Keeping your facility clean and clutter-free eliminates rodent harbourage, as rodents prefer not-managed areas to take shelter, make nests, survive, and thrive outdoors.
2.Exclusion: Prevent rodent entry by sealing up cracks, holes and openings around doors, windows, pipes, and vents.
The materials used for such rodent prevention are different depending on the rodent entry type but must be effective to prevent attempts by mice and rats to evade the barrier to gain entry indoors.
Metal of sufficient thickness (24 or higher gauge for wall or pipe barriers and 22 or higher gauge for kick plates or door edging) is an effective rodent barrier and can cover the holes around pipes and door edges.
Metal screens can prevent rodent entry from vents.
We have found the RodeXit rodent seal to be an effective rodent barrier below doors and rolling shutters.
3.Denying food and water: Eliminate food sources that could attract rodents by promptly removing food spills and storing food in rodent-proof containers.
As mice and rats also feed on garbage, denying food to them also requires eliminating their access to the trash.
Trash must be kept in a closed container with lids and regularly removed from a facility.
As mice and rats also need water to survive, avoiding standing water and leaky pipes and faucets or dripping condensate denies them water and prevents their survival and proliferation.
4.Deny harbourage: Prevent rodents from nesting by removing wood piles, debris, and overgrown vegetation around the facility.
It is necessary to prevent rodents from using materials stored outdoors for nesting.
Further, rodents may use trash and debris to make nests, which can be prevented by removing all potential nesting sites and materials.
Rodents can also make nests indoors, and thus, the steps to deny harbourage to rodents outdoors must also be followed indoors to prevent rodent nesting.
5.Storage: Maintain organised storage and prevent material accumulation that could shelter rodents.
Rodents are nocturnal creatures and spend their days away from human sight by seeking shelter inside piles and stored materials not checked regularly by people.
Periodically inspecting non-moving materials helps to detect mice and rat harbourage, their nests, and their pups.
6.Rodent inspection: Regularly inspect the facility for rodent activity signs such as droppings, gnaw marks, shredded packaging, damaged food and rub marks.
Rodents leave numerous signs that help detect mice and rat presence.
Regular inspections uncover the presence of mice and rats through their urine, droppings, gnawing, damaged packaging, and the rub marks caused by their body oils.
7.Rodent monitoring: Monitor rodents regularly through non-toxic glue or live catch or snap traps to track rodent infestation and areas of rodent occurrence.
Monitoring rodents is very important and can be done through a range of traps, which, if used in areas frequented by rodents, will help to capture them.
Rodent trap use must be planned carefully to catch and prevent them from damaging property or contaminating food.
8.Employee awareness: Educating employees on rodent identification, prevention, and reporting of rodent sightings is an important step in rodent management.
An employee at an organic food facility must know the types of rodents likely to occur at their workplace and the steps taken to prevent rodents.
Employees must know the rodent-proofing devices and report rodent activity or any issue that could lead to rodent entry into the facility.
9.Rodent reporting: Every facility must foster a culture of awareness about rodents and encourage prompt reporting of rodent activity signs.
As the presence of one rodent only indicates the likely presence of numerous others, a facility must ensure that all employees report signs of rodents or rodent sightings.
10.Rodent population records: A facility must maintain detailed records of rodent monitoring control measures to track the progress of the rodent control measures and identify rodent population trends.
Food safety auditors rely on records to determine the effectiveness of a rodent control program.
An organic food facility must be able to show through their records that they monitor all rodent activity and follow it up with steps for the prevention of rodents and trapping of rodents that have entered the facility.
By following the above ten tips, we are sure that an organic food facility can easily control rodents without relying on toxic rodenticides.
Since 2020, we have guided numerous customers on rodent-proofing their premises using the patented RodeXit rodent seal at Giridhar Pai Associates LLP.
The RodeXit rodent seal is versatile for eliminating gaps up to 35 mm below doors and rolling shutters.
As mice can enter a gap above 6 mm and rats can enter through gaps above 13 mm, the RodeXit rodent seal can eliminate mice and rat entry into a building when it is used to close gaps up to 35 mm.
By the end of 2023, numerous Indian food factories installed the RodeXit rodent seal to prevent rodent entry and found it a highly effective rodent-proofing product.