A third of small businesses smell a rat (among other things)

A survey suggests more than one in 10 SMEs have had a pest problem in the past year. Gross.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Nov 2011
Silvio Berlusconi isn’t the only pest making the headlines today (although to be fair, he’s probably the only one to have been the inspiration for the term ‘bunganomics’): a survey by pest control firm Rentokil of 500 small business owners has found that more than one in 10 has had an infestation over the past year. Gross. Topping the list are mice, which 39% of those affected said had managed to squeeze their way into their office, while 36% said they’d been afflicted by a mischief (thank you, Wikipedia) of rats. Topping MT’s phobia-o-meter, though, are the 16% that said they’d been infested with wasps. Eeek.

Now clearly, having an invasion of rats/mice/wasps/slugs/spiders/frogs etc poses obvious threats – particularly if your business has anything to do with food or its handling. Rather sweetly, though, businesses seemed to be more worried about their relationships with their employees than anything else: 53% said they were concerned about what their workers would think. Naturally, though, reputation came a close second, with 50% pointing out that having unwelcome guests could damage their reputation, and 47% thought it would have an effect on their relationships with their customers.

What’s causing this pest-midemic, then? Almost 80% of businesses blame it on their cleaners, saying a lack of ‘effective’ (read: ‘any’) cleaning and maintenance attracts vermin, while 64% say it happens when they leave rubbish in office bins overnight. 56% say it’s simply down to having a communal kitchen (although presumably points one and two are still relevant), while 54% say it’s down to staff eating at desks. Which is, admittedly, a lot grosser than you might imagine. Ever had ‘qwerty tummy’…?

Naturally, Rentokil recommends that businesses immediately draw up a ‘pest strategy’. Although having a few rats around might be a comfort. At least they’re not trying to escape a sinking ship…

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