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Business may face pest risk during COVID-19

The pest risks to buildings during the COVID-19 lockdown

During the coronavirus crisis, governments around the world have ordered the shutdown of non-critical businesses and services to reduce the transmission of the virus to protect the population. Other buildings that are classed under essential services may have reduced staff as only essential workers are allowed on site. For infection control, businesses may also restrict staff of external contractors from accessing their premises.

This has left many buildings lying empty or with much reduced human presence. Therefore, it results in greater risk of pest infestation and other facility maintenance issues.

Examples of affected business sectors include commercial, hotels and restaurants, education, industrial and residential. Homeowners will be reluctant to allow people in to protect themselves from infection. With lesser human traffic and activities, these buildings have become a perfect habitat for many types of pest.

Here are outcomes to expect when pest population grows rapidly:

  • Physical damage to the buildings and fittings
  • A large pest infestation that’s much harder to eradicate
  • Contamination of the site with debris from, for example, nesting material and droppings
  • Contaminated surfaces carrying health risks from the many diseases that pests can carry
  • Risk of cross-infestation where pests travel to other locations

The main pest threats to buildings


Firstly, rats in Singapore are capable of quick and large increase in reproduction population when there is an abundance of food supply. Secondly, they produce multiple litters in a year and several generations of young mature and produce their own young within a year. Finally, the shelter from predators and benign environmental conditions inside a building produces a higher survival rate than in the wild.

During the COVID-19, many food businesses such as restaurants and cafés may reduce patronage and for some, may shut down. This results in limiting the rat's regular food supplies during this period. Thus, it leads to starvation and food competition, which drives them to leave their current hideout to look for new food supplies. Above all, rats’ may change their normal nocturnal habits to find food during daytime. When this happens, it also means rat infestation is heavy.

These starving rats will travel to nearby buildings where food source is still available. They may spend more time at food waste bins that are not emptied as they feed on food waste for survival.

Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Rice And Mice

Risks from rodents

The damages and diseases from rats and mice include the following:

  • Damage to buildings and fixtures as brown rat gnaws
  • Electrical equipment and wire are at risk of fire and short circuits
  • Rats can also cause extensive damage to sewer systems by burrowing
  • Contamination along surfaces with urine, droppings, and filth picked up
  • Damage to food containers and food or goods packaging
  • Transmission of diseases, including Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis, Toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease, rat-bite fever
  • Rodents carry ectoparasites, including ticks, fleas, lice and mites and are, therefore, also vectors for the diseases that these carry

Rat control services

It is important to take proactive steps in rat eradication by engaging rat pest control with a professional pest control company. Firstly, pest control specialist will carry out thorough inspection of the premises and detect signs of rat infestation. Secondly, they will recommend suitable rat control methods for the premise. Thirdly, a series of reporting, pest trend analysis and service recommendations are provided digitally. Above all, both pest control specialists and businesses will communicate on current findings and situations to get rid of rats effectively. This includes sharing useful rats’ prevention tips and housekeeping reminders. Contact Rentokil Pest Control for digital rodent control today.


Maintain good housekeeping practices to prevent rat infestation.


Cockroaches are the most common type of crawling insect that infests food-handling and other businesses. They cause particular problems because of their small size, giving them the ability to hide in small places, their non-fussy and varied diet, rapid reproduction and the diseases they can carry.

Cockroaches shelter in dark places such as cracks, crevices, drains, sewers, inside equipment and furnishings and hidden spaces that provide the right temperature and humidity. These places are also hard to reach using basic cleaning and sanitation methods. Hence, it is easy to cause a cockroach infestation.

Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Cockcoaches

The three most common species

  • German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)

It prefers wet, humid conditions. They are especially associated with infestations of kitchens and food storage areas, but also infests bathrooms, vehicles, offices and administrative areas.

  • American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

It requires warm, humid environments to survive. Drains, sewers, basements, storage rooms and waste storage areas are common sources of infestation.

  • Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)

It prefers cooler, dark and damp places to shelter, such as basements and drains. Storage rooms and waste storage areas are common places to find them.

Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Hiding Ground At Basements

Basements are a good hiding grounds for pests.

Risks from cockroaches

  • Diseases and allergens: cockroaches can carry a large number of disease-causing bacteria, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Listeria, E. coli, and also fungi, viruses and parasitic worms
  • They feed on any decaying organic matter, mould and faecal matter in sewers, which can then be carried into buildings on their bodies and in excreta
  • They defecate wherever they crawl and frequently expel saliva on surfaces to ‘taste’ their environment
  • Droppings and bodily secretions stain and leave a foul odour that can permeate infested areas and goods
  • Cast skins and egg cases contaminate food products and packaging
  • Asthma caused by allergens in the droppings and shed skins

Cockroach pest control

The best solution for cockroaches has to be an ongoing process. Because of urbanisation and any uncontrollable factors, pests such as cockroaches must be managed consistently. Firstly, the root source and hiding grounds of cockroaches have to be actively inspected and identified. Secondly, pest control professionals can suggest proofing ideas such as sealing pest entries around the premises. Thirdly, they will carry out treatments of either gel, traps and spray at targeted areas to get rid of cockroaches. Finally, it is good to cultivate diligent cockroach prevention habits as an ongoing practice.


A number of fly species can lurk around buildings. They breed in decaying organic matter such as food waste, droppings, dead animals and drains. These species include fruit flies, drain flies, houseflies and bluebottles. Different food products attracts different fly species. For example, fermenting sugars, oils and fats, carbohydrates, and decaying proteins and vegetable matter.

  • Fruit flies can feed on and breed in very small amounts of sugary liquids – in bars, kitchens and restaurants, food waste areas and discarded food. The liquid can accumulate in rubbish containers, over-ripe fruit, and some vegetables, old drink bottles, in drains, in food and drink spills, even in cracks in wet floors.
  • Drain flies are attracted to rotting food, sewage and other organic waste material. They lay eggs in organic waste that can build up in drains or polluted shallow water. They can breed in the gelatinous bacterial films – biofilms – that form on surfaces in drains, septic tanks, compost, and are resistant to cleaning and pest-control chemicals.
  • House flies breed in decomposing waste such as rotting food and animal faeces.
  • Blow flies lay eggs in rotting meat, including kitchen and restaurant waste, and animal carcasses such as dead rats, mice and birds.
Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Flies

Risks from flies

In warm conditions and with food supplies, flies can multiply quickly. They feed on faecal matter, rubbish, rotting materials and stored and processed foods. They will regularly move between the contaminated food sources and clean areas, carrying contaminated filth on their bodies and microorganisms internally.

Flies can pick up contaminated materials on their bodies, feet and mouth parts. Some regurgitate digestive juices and defecate while feeding and resting, contaminating foods and surfaces with microorganisms that can cause disease or decay. Fruit flies can also carry spoilage microorganisms and diseases.

Flies can carry many microorganisms that cause disease in humans, including Salmonella, cholera, Campylobacter spp, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, parasitic worms and fungi.

Fly pest control

For some businesses such as food establishment, food safety and regulatory compliance is mandatory. Fly control is necessary even regardless if the premise is in full operations to ensure constant control of flies infestation. Particularly during difficult times like the COVID-19, Rentokil Initial innovates cutting-edge technology to control flies with energy cost savings. Find out more on Rentokil fly trap that only enhances the aesthetics of the environment, delivers efficient catch rate while providing cost savings to the business. Contact Rentokil Singapore for a quote today.

Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Lumnia Slim

Introducing Rentokil's LED Fly Trap, Lumnia Slim.

Fly prevention activities helps to ensure consistent control of the flies’ population. Besides engaging pest control solutions, businesses can apply these recommendations to optimise on ways to get rid of flies more efficiently.


A few species of birds are able to thrive in urban areas. They’re adapted to the nesting and roosting sites in the ledges, sills, roofs and gutters of buildings and the ready sources of food provided by human food supply activities in the vicinity. They can exploit gaps in the roof, walls, and open or broken doors and windows for entry and take shelter in spaces such as under roofs. The most common bird pests are pigeons, house sparrows, seagulls and starlings.

Debugged Blog Business May Face Pest Risk During COVID Birds

Risks from birds

Birds can cause the following type of damage.

  • Fouling: droppings accumulate around roosting sites, fouling the outside and inside of the building if they gain entry, surrounding areas, vehicles and produce
  • Physical damage: birds can dislodge roof tiles, damaging insulation in roof spaces, and corrosion caused by chemical action of the droppings attacks stone, metal, paintwork and other building materials
  • Water damage: nests block guttering and drain pipes, causing flooding on the roof, internal leaks, rotten timbers, metal corrosion, damaged plaster and other wall coverings and flooring inside the building. Wet areas can then become breeding sites for flying and biting insects and sources of fungi and mould
  • Spread of diseases: bird droppings can contain many types of pathogens that create a health risk by contaminating surfaces. Pathogens include Salmonella, E. coli, Histoplasma, Chlamydia psittaci (which causes psittacosis)
  • Spread of insects and parasites: ticks, fleas, lice and mites are carried by birds and can infest their nests and spread around the building. Various beetles, moths, flies and mites that feed on nest detritus can infest nests, including carpet beetle, fur beetle, biscuit beetle, clothes moth, dust mite and other stored product insects

Protect buildings from pests with pest control services

It is essential to continue maintaining buildings and commercial pest control. It prevents pests accessing buildings and also infestations from becoming a greater financial risk. Pest infestations also lead to reputational damage. This may delay the return of a building to normal use when the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.

A professional pest control service can provide an integrated pest control treatment that controls pests efficiently and discreetly. This helps to protect the building, stock, equipment and provides a safe place for staff.

Pest control cost for commercial business

Commercial pest control can be customised according to business needs, budget and affordability, premise condition, pest species and infestation level. Some factors include:

  • Type of unit and chemical used
  • Frequency and number of pest treatments required
  • Areas to treat including size and complexity
  • Presence of entomologist to perform pest trend study
  • Utilising of innovation and technology to manage pest

Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for an integrated pest management solution today.

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