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Rodent infestations in storage: the silent thief of your profits

Rodent infestations are a common problem for storage facilities around the world, and the damage they cause can be significant. The impact of rodent damage goes beyond the cost of replacing damaged goods, with additional costs incurred from cleaning, fumigation, and loss of business due to reputational damage. In this blog post, we will explore the extent of rodent pest damage in storage facilities, which rodents are causing the problem, how farmers combat against rodent pest damage, and effective solutions such as EBRM practices.

Extent of Rodent Pest Damage in Storage Facilities

Rodent pest damage is a major issue for storage facilities in many countries. According to a study conducted by the USDA, rodent damage costs the US food industry approximately $20 billion annually, and that’s just in the food sector alone. This number does not take into account other industries such as textiles and electronics, which can also suffer significant losses from rodent damage.

The damage caused by rodents can be significant, both in terms of quantity and quality. Rodents can chew through packaging materials, contaminating products with their urine and feces, and creating holes that allow other pests such as insects to enter. This contamination can result in foodborne illness and other health hazards, leading to potential legal liabilities and loss of consumer confidence.

Which Rodents are Causing the Problem?

Several species of rodents can cause problems in storage facilities. The most common are mice and rats, but other rodents such as squirrels, chipmunks, and even raccoons can also cause damage. In the US, the most common rodent species found in storage facilities are the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus).

Combatting Rodent Pest Damage

Farmers and storage facility managers use a variety of methods to combat rodent pest damage. Traditional methods such as baiting and trapping can be effective, but they can also be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, rodents can develop resistance to certain types of poisons, making them ineffective over time.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Ecologically-Based Rodent Management (EBRM) are two approaches that have been gaining popularity in recent years. These approaches focus on preventing pest infestations before they occur, through a combination of pest monitoring, habitat modification, and cultural controls. By creating an environment that is less attractive to pests, farmers and facility managers can reduce the need for chemical interventions and achieve more sustainable and cost-effective pest control.

Effective Solutions: EBRM Practices

EBRM practices have shown to be effective in reducing rodent populations in storage facilities. The approach involves using multiple strategies to control rodents, including cultural, mechanical, and biological methods. Cultural methods involve modifying the storage environment to make it less attractive to rodents, such as sealing entry points, eliminating food sources, and reducing clutter. Mechanical methods involve using physical barriers and traps to prevent rodents from accessing stored goods. Biological methods involve using natural predators, such as cats or barn owls, to control rodent populations.

The MED4PEST project, a collaboration between MetaMeta Anatolia and other partners, is exploring innovative solutions for rodent pest management. One of the project’s goals is to develop plant-based bio-rodenticides that are effective, eco-friendly, and safe for humans and non-target species. Additionally, the project is developing a unique Raspberry Pi-based rodent monitoring device, which will allow farmers and facility managers to detect rodent activity in real-time and take preventive action before an infestation occurs.

Rodent pest damage in storage facilities is a costly problem that can impact the bottom line of businesses and jeopardize public health. Effective rodent control requires a combination of prevention, and intervention strategies, and the MED4PEST ( project is exploring innovative solutions to help mitigate the impact of rodent pests on agriculture and public health.


United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). Economic Research Service.

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Hleb, V. (2021). Rodent Management in Food Processing Plants. Pest Control Technology Magazine.

William, L., Olson, K., & Crabb, A. C. (2018). Using ecologically-based rodent management to reduce damage to stored grain in Africa. In Proc. 11th Internat. Working Conf. Stored Prod. Prot. (IWCSPP), Chiang Mai, Thailand.

International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC). (2022). Ecologically-Based Rodent Management.

Gifford, E., & Johnson, C. (2021). Rodent Control in Food Processing Facilities. Food Safety Magazine.

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