Canadian Underwriter

When your commercial auto client smells a rat

September 2, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Tall grass and vegetation are not good choices for areas to park or store construction equipment, trucks, recreational vehicles, campers, trailers or trucks. This is because rodents tend to like tall grass, Northbridge Insurance warns.

“If buildings, vehicles, and equipment are left unattended and unoperated for long periods, there is a high chance of rodents finding their way in and nesting,” Northbridge Insurance wrote in Rodent control: How to protect your business against nature’s silent nuisance, a recent post to its blog site.

Rodents – including rats, house mice, field mice and squirrels – can cause property damage and become a nuisance to business operations.

RVs, campers, trailers and contractor equipment should be parked or stored in yards or fenced areas where there is no tall grass or vegetation.

“Avoid storage in fields or wooded areas where rodents are commonly found and likely located,” Toronto-based Northbridge Insurance said on the blog post.

Typically, rodents build nests in or around vehicles that are rarely used.

“It’s important to identify and resolve the presence of rodents before they build nests and multiply, which increases rodent activity,” the insurer advises.

Examples of where rodents might construct their nests in vehicles include:

  • engine compartments;
  • headliners;
  • gloveboxes;
  • on or under vehicle seats;
  • trunks;
  • spare tire compartments;
  • taillights ;
  • headlight access areas and enclosures; and
  • engine and tool compartments.

Northbridge advises fleet managers to ensure vehicles are inspected often, whether they are used frequently, abandoned, stationary, or only stored in a garage for the season.

“This helps prevent the colonization or infestation of a vehicle. When starting a vehicle that has been idle for an extended period, air out the vehicle and inspect the air intakes and filters before starting the engine.”

Other measures you can take to reduce the risk of rodent damage include:

  • seal up openings and holes found in windows, sunroofs, and doors;
  • if possible, restrict access entirely;
  • if storing vehicles in a garage or warehouse, lay traps;
  • remove food from the area to avoid scents that rodents are drawn to;
  • consider the use of capture devices;
  • when storing RVs, camper units, and trailers, remove barbeque units as rodents are attracted to the odours from residue; and
  • remove food, fat food packaging, pet food and small scraps of food that may be on the floor of vehicles.

If you are investigating or cleaning up a rodent infestation, Northbridge advises that you first disconnect batteries. This can help eliminate the chance of battery-related fires.


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1 Comment » for When your commercial auto client smells a rat
  1. Sam Margel says:

    Rodents can be a problem even in an enclosed garage. They will squeeze through a hole the circumferance of a pencil. When storing a car or truck for the winter, here are some of the things I do to mitigate against vermin: Stuff a rag AND a dryer sheet into the exhaust – they hate dryer sheets – remove before starting in the spring!; lay dryer sheets over the exterior HVAC intake vents (won’t work in the open air). Lay dryer sheets under the hood around the engine compartment, again, removing before starting; lay a bunch dried lavender flowers (also hated by rodents) in the vehucle footwells under the HVAC ducts.; double check that windows are tightly rolled up and doors/trunk/gas door are all firmly latched. Lastly, hope for lazy rodents, because they have been around alot longer that we have and can adapt.

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