Rodents have increased as a problem in Grocers, Big Box Retailers, Pet Stores, and Restaurants for multiple reasons.
Mild winters have continued to contribute to larger rodent populations throughout the year, not just in winter. Geographic areas which have severe winters; rats will spend more of their time generating heat and keeping warm rather than breeding. Warmer latitudes or milder winters allow rodents to spend more of their energy breeding. With eight to twelve rats per litter, population grows very quickly. Whereas we saw rodent populations becoming problems as the weather cooled off in the 1990s; over the past 10-15 years we have seen less seasonal fluctuations and received as many rodent calls during summer as we did in the winter.
What’s most significant for Big Box stores, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes Home Improvement or Restaurant chains and Grocers? They all sell bird seed in bags that are out and readily available for customers, which means they are also available for mice and rats. Many of these stores were built decades ago and as such, have numerous points of access to the interior. Or in the case of Grocers; they have multiple sources of food available for rodents. Any pest control company working for these stores may find that managing a rodent population can be a serious challenge. Using toxic baits inside these stores is usually not allowed by the label; and certainly, not recommended as these baits may become accessible to children that often accompany their parents shopping. Although most rodent poison labels require that they be installed in tamper resistant bait stations, kids can and will get into almost anything and as most baits are anti-coagulant types baits, trips to the nearest emergency room is not only a potential danger, it is bad for business and creates a tremendous liability for both the pest control company and the retailer.
Shoppers are horrified to see live rats in the bird seed aisle, whether they are on the bags or crawling along overhead beams, or on the floor in a restaurant; and customers are not shy about complaints. Retailers have two main issues: 1. Shrinkage due to the amount of merchandise that has been contaminated by rodent droppings and urine and must be disposed of and 2. Customers are driven by social media. The last thing any retailer, big box store, restaurant, or grocer wants is an unfavorable ad campaign on Yelp. I have personally been told by restaurants and retailers that the possibility of that happening is their worst nightmare. Unfortunately, I have seen it happen. What might have been a minor pest management issue instantly became the number one priority and demanded immediate resolution. No-one wanted to hear about pest management, they wanted elimination and wanted it now! Stores could easily be losing 10s of $1000s of dollars per month due to product that must be discarded rather than sold, whether it is the candy aisle or the birdseed aisle.
The Good News: A loss of sales due to unplanned social media campaigns by unhappy customers does not have to happen. Pro-active management closely working with reputable pest control companies can minimize these risks and solve problems quickly.
A recent survey by Bell Laboratories showed that pest control companies were finding significant increases in their rodent control business as a percentage of overall revenue due to increasing rodent populations. In October 2016, Orkin, a leading global pest control company, published its Top 50 Rattiest Cities list. Chicago topped the list again, after previously ranking first in 2014. The Midwest region had the greatest number of cities on the list, with 13 in the top 50.
The cities are ranked by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
- Dallas-Ft. Worth
- Hartford & New Haven, Conn.
- Portland, Ore.
- Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.
- Richmond-Petersburg, Va.
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.
- Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.
- Rochester, N.Y.
- West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.
- Columbus, Ohio
- New Orleans, La.
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville, S.C.
- Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich.
- Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M.
- Portland-Auburn, Maine
- Green Bay-Appleton, Wis.
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.
- San Diego
- Burlington-Plattsburgh, Vt.
- Madison, Wis.
- Salt Lake City
Fortunately, rodent control is not “rocket science”. What is critical is a thorough inspection of the facility, a plan of action and cooperation of the client and the pest control company. Weisman Pro Pest Inspections has years of successful experience solving rodent problems as a pest control company and as a troubleshooter for others. We have worked with many industry leaders. Contact us now and we will be glad to consult with you and map out a plan of action, whether you are the restaurant, retailer, wholesaler, or a pest control company that just needs a fresh pair of eyes on the situation.