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Food Safety News

Case Study: Mice Underfoot – In the Floor!

After years of servicing a large client facility in central Pennsylvania with no rodent pressure, it was hard to believe the facility QA manager called regarding several cases of returned product that had rodent damage inside the boxes. After reviewing the photos and the damaged product, it was easy to conclude the damage was indeed caused by mice. The RKE teams reached out to the client and immediately set up an appointment to review any pest finding and to complete an intensive facility inspection. The trending information at the plant showed no rodent activity and the inspection revealed the same.

After reviewing the findings with the client and a long-detailed conversation about where the affected product was stored. We came to the conclusion the product was damaged at the off-site storage locations. As time went on, the escalation of rodent damage increased and then off-site warehouses returned a trailer full of product with mice. The trailer was isolated and a fumigation was completed, all suspect product was discarded. Slowly, rodent started to appear in the mechanical devices and damaged product was noted inside the facility. The team completed several intensive snap trap treatments at the plant but the issue was only growing.

It was decided to take a team of RKE Service Specialist to the facility and complete a “deep dig” inspection focusing on rodents. What we found was exciting for the team and the client as well. During the inspection a service specialist found mice chewing through the floor joint in the basement area, this area is 15 feet below ground level. Continuing on with the inspection to the upper level of the warehouse, several small holes were found in the floor joints in the entire warehouse. While inspecting the holes it was clear the mice were running in the expansion joints. The mice at this facility had access to over quarter mile of runways in the warehouse area. After showing the client our findings, we were able to convince their team to start removing the old expansion joints in the basement area to deter the rodent activity.

RKE was on site the day the contractor started the replacement of the old expansion joints. As the work started on expansion joint removal the QA manager rushed into the office and asked the RKE manager to grab everything available for the control of mice. Snap traps and glue boards were collected and taken to the basement. Upon speaking with the contractors, it was discussed the contractor had found piles of torn paper and plastic and when they started to remove the material, mice poured out from under the slab. The maintenance manager explained that more than 50 mice came running out from under the slab foundation and how shocked he was. Also, he went on to explain he did not believe the pest control contractor when we requested repairing the gap issue over the past several months to help deter the rodent issue.

Determination, inspections and documentation of the rodent issues has convinced the client to continue with the repairs of the expansion joints not only in the basement area but expanded it to the entire warehouse. This project work will be continual until all activity has been eradicated. This is expected to take several months to a full-year with five days of service each week.