Many businesses and organisations are under great pressure during the current global health and economic crises. Crucial areas of healthcare and social care are at the front line of the battle against COVID-19 and businesses supplying a wide range of products and services are needed to keep these and all sectors of society running – not least the food supply system.
Many types of pest present in urban environments worldwide are vectors of diseases, contaminate and consume food supplies and cause physical damage to buildings. WHO lists over 30 important pathogenic bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths that can be spread by just rodents and their ectoparasites.
In addition to rodents, other pests, including flies, cockroaches, birds, stored product insects, fleas and ticks are a health and economic threat. Buildings in all sectors, including hospitals, food processing plants, manufacturing plants, warehouses, education, hotels, restaurants, offices and residential accommodation provide ideal environments for many of these opportunistic pests.
Buildings can provide a perfect harbourage for pests to shelter and breed, especially when there is little or no disturbance from people during the lockdown. Pests can damage many parts of buildings to gain access and get around buildings to find food and nesting places.
Rodents cause gnawing damage and shred materials for nesting, birds can damage roofs and block drains causing flooding damage and all pests contaminate surfaces with droppings. Pest numbers can rapidly increase with access to food supplies – including unemptied food waste bins. Costs of pest control, cleaning, disinfection and repairs can quickly escalate.
A survey conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) for Rentokil found that more than 70% of businesses in five countries suffered significant financial losses during an infestation – and that was during normal times when buildings were in full use!
Pests are also a risk to the health and wellbeing of staff and customers. In addition to spreading diseases the presence of pest infestations causes stress and anxiety. The survey found that the impact on staff morale was the most commonly cited impact in all five countries, with 30-38% of businesses reporting it as the number one impact.
This shows the importance of protecting buildings during the lockdown for both essential businesses that need to keep operations running and for businesses that are closed. Action now will keep buildings pest-free, safe and ready to use when the lockdown is lifted and business operations are restarted. It will also reassure staff and customers that a building is safe to work in or visit.
Each business sector has critical areas with specific pest risks that could have an impact on health and cause financial and reputational damage:
Rentokil’s disinfection solutions can help businesses deal with the effects of coronavirus.