There are reports that some businesses don’t envisage employees returning to their offices to work until early 2021 due to the risk of contracting COVID 19 and the difficulties of putting social distancing measures in place.
This means there are many buildings that are being left empty, particularly in cities like London and Bristol, and offices are becoming ‘playgrounds’ for mice.
At the same time, these businesses or the premises owners will be look- ing at ways to reduce costs while their buildings are unoccupied. Pest control should not be one of them for several reasons. Alongside continuing or even increasing pest control visits, work outside to keep vegetation cut back and sites clean and tidy is extremely important stresses Cleankill Pest Control Managing Director, Paul Bates.
Paul explains: “Prevention is always better than cure. The cost of a pest control prevention contract with regular visits is quite minimal compared to other services business normally have to pay for such as utilities - and the consequences if you don’t have a contract can be serious.
“Riser cupboards and floor voids are motorways for mice and infestations can spread quickly. If there isn’t a contract in place and a large infestation takes hold the costs can be huge. This will include emergency treatments to get rid of the pests and then make sure they are kept under control. Other costs could include damage to infrastructure such as wiring and pipe work by rats and mice, goods having to be disposed of and an increased risk of fire from damaged electrical cables. Other factors to consider include a delay in staff being able to resume working in the building while problems are being sorted out.”
It is also worth considering that your insurance may not pay out if you are found to have not had a pest control contract in place and this resulted in a fire or other damage.
Business owners should be aware that there is legislation in place that requires them to keep their buildings pest free. This includes The Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 in the United Kingdom that creates a duty on local authorities to control mice and rats. The legislation grants powers to local authorities to compel landowners and/or occupiers to take action to keep land free from rats and mice.
Notice can be served requiring treatment and/or the carrying out of any structural repairs or other works such as proofing buildings and removing accumulations that might provide harbourage/sustenance for rats and mice whether or not there is an existing infestation.
There is also the Environmental Protection Act 1990 that can result in fines if there are inadequate measures to prevent access by pests. Should Defra become aware that a local authority is failing to discharge its responsibilities it has certain default powers to initiate action.