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Reopening Your Building: Signs of Pests

While it might seem like pests are attracted to us, in reality, these creatures are often simply looking for somewhere to call home. That means that if your business premises have been left unattended for long periods, it’s possible that you might find that some form of pest has tried to move in. This is clearly unpleasant for you, your employees and your customers and raises environmental health issues.

This year, plenty of businesses have been getting back into the swing of things with restrictions lifting, so we’re here to give guidance on how to spot signs of pests when you reopen your premises post-COVID. This is especially important for those in the food and hospitality industry, such as pubs, but it’s also relevant for any business going back to permanent work – including offices, warehouses and factories.

signs of rate and mice infestation

Signs of Mice & Rats

Looking for shelter and a good source of food, any building left unoccupied could be at risk of rodents moving in. This presents serious health risks for staff and customers, with older buildings such as pubs or converted office spaces particularly prone to infestation as mice and rats tend to find their way through old cracks, crevices and disused plumbing. Here’s what to look out for if you’re reopening your business:


Small droppings in pellet shapes are a sure sign of rodents. While they could appear near nests, you might find them in cupboards or close to any food that has been left behind.


It may have been a while since you were last in your building, but if you notice gnawing marks on furniture or along walls, then it’s likely you have an infestation.

Grease Marks

Grease and dirt from the bodies of rodents is a marking left behind that you may notice if any rodents have made your space their new home.


There are lots of reasons for an unoccupied office to smell bad, but one of the potential reasons could be the smell of rat or mouse urine.

signs of insect infestation

Signs of Insect Infestation

Food is one of the biggest attractions for pests, especially insects. Ants, cockroaches and flies will all take advantage of even the smallest crumb, so if you had old food in cupboards or even a rogue bin bag left behind, you can expect insects to appear. At worst, you’ll have an infestation on your hands and could be putting health at risk, but at best it will be unsightly for staff, guests or any visitors in your premises. Here are the signs to look out for:

Lingering smells

Cockroaches are known to create quite a stink when they nest in a property.

Dead insects

Lots of dead flies might suggest the problem has been and gone, but actually there will likely be eggs waiting to hatch somewhere in the property for the next wave. Check your light fittings for dead flies in particular.


The main sign of ants in a property will be live sightings, usually in lines or pathways that have been established by the colony between the nest and the food source.

signs of bird infestation

Signs of Bird Infestation

Something as simple as a broken window or an open air vent could lead to your premises becoming a roost for birds such as pigeons. Seemingly abandoned spaces will make a tempting place to nest, while vents and ducts that previously were in use can also seem inviting when out of action. Here are the obvious signs that you’ve got a bird infestation:

Bird droppings

A clear and obvious sign that birds have access to your property is droppings. It’s not only unsightly but it’s also a huge health risk.


Birds that have made their home in your vents, roof cavities or chimney will usually be heard scratching, flapping or even cooing and squawking, giving away their position.


Where there are feathers, there are surely birds. These could be strewn around your premises or you might notice them blocking up crevices and ducting if they’ve built up over time.

Even if you’re a pub with outdoor seating or you’re creating an outdoor cinema, the interior of your property still needs to be maintained to high standards at all times to ensure you aren’t putting people’s health at risk. That’s why a high level of cleanliness should be maintained at all times, with deep cleaning and thorough inspections of your premises before reopening.

If you notice any of the signs of pests mentioned in this article – whether you’re certain there’s an infestation or you’d simply like professional advice – then don’t delay. At Pest Defence, we provide emergency pest control services for Colchester, Chelmsford, Brentwood and the surrounding areas of Essex. We can be with you the same day and are local authority approved, meaning you can get your business back open as quickly as possible.


Business as usual!

COVID-19 update

Please see our Covid-19 update here, or find out more about our deep cleaning and remote advice services

Speak to a specialist on 08001 510 260 for guidance.

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