There are many reasons why business premises, holiday lets and rental properties may lie dormant from time to time; seasonality, a gap in tenancy – or a global pandemic, of course! Unfortunately, these types of empty buildings are a 5* hotel for a whole host of pests providing shelter, protection from predators, and even gourmet, tasty delights, long-discarded or left by the humans.
If you have a property that is likely to have a period of extended closure, it’s important to establish a routine of regular checks for pests at least every fortnight. Spotting the signs early could save you thousands in repair costs not to mention, prevent a health and safety nightmare.
Here’s how to spot a pest problem before it takes hold:
1. Shine a light on the problem
Whether beetles, bugs, mice or rats, most pests seek safety in darkness. Take a torch and walk around the exterior and interior of the property, inspecting any dark corners and cracks, and look for new holes.
Any damaged or chewed wires or woodwork is also a giveaway. Check outside buildings such as storage areas and sheds, which are popular with animals seeking shelter. Also inspect drains – a favourite hiding place for rats.
2. Use your nose
A strong, musky odour can be the first sign of rodent urine and droppings or even, corpses under floorboards or in wall cavities. Cockroaches also give off a foul scent. Even if you can’t find any visual evidence, call on a professional if you notice a new, unpleasant smell.
Of course, droppings are a sure sign of a pest problem. If you clean the area, be sure to use a bleach or disinfectant solution and wear gloves. Dispose of any food and wash your hands thoroughly.
4. Signs of movement
Some pests are large enough to disturb ornaments and objects as they scurry along surfaces and shelves. If any small items have been obviously moved, investigate further.
5. Feeding time
Kitchen and food preparation and storage areas are, unsurprisingly, hotspots for pests. As well as checking inside, under and behind fridges and food cupboards, you should inspect any food for signs of nibble marks. Be sure to also look in bags of products such as flours and grains. These can often transport what’s known as ‘stored product insects’ such as rice and grain weevils, and larder and biscuit beetles which, if left untreated, will eventually multiply within the stored food and contaminate it.
6. Call in the professionals
If you spot even one sign of a pest in an empty property, don’t wait until your next fortnightly check to be sure – by that time, you could have a full-on infestation.
Give Pest Purge a call and we’ll be happy to provide an immediate free survey and quotation.