Common Pests in Offices

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Signs of common pests in office environments

Those in charge of office environments, educational facilities and property managers of FM companies need to maintain the quality of their properties for tenants, visitors and owners alike. Continuous maintenance and vigilance is essential to help prevent pests from entering and any infestation must be dealt with quickly and effectively before it has a chance to spread. The problem is that offices are a difficult environment to manage – older buildings present structural and multiple entry points, even new buildings with open layouts can be susceptible to pests, as onsite canteens, cafes and kitchen areas along with staff storing snacks in their desks continually attracts pests in search of food and shelter.

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Rodents in offices

Mice can squeeze through the smallest gaps; young mice can fit through a gap of just 6mm in search of food and shelter. They are neophilic, which means it’s their nature to investigate as part of their foraging strategy and are good climbers. Once inside they will explore internal ducts, voids, cabling routes, false floors and ceilings allowing them easy access from basements to top floors in search of food and places to nest. Rodents contaminate food and any surfaces they move across spreading pathogens such as Salmonella, E.coli, Hantavirus and Leptospirosis. Rats and mice will gnaw on pipes, wiring and cabling which can damage critical IT, computer and electrical installations – disrupting business and damage office furniture, fixtures, fittings and even the building structure. The most important means of preventing rodents is eliminating their access to food, water and shelter inside and outside of your office space. Rentokil’s PestConnect system provides a humane, safe and hygienic way to monitor, eliminate and prevent rodents from infesting your offices.

Cockroaches in kitchen areas

Cockroaches feed on almost anything organic, including cardboard, tiny amounts of foods and liquids as well as mould and faecal matter. They are known for infesting kitchens and washrooms, yet they can spread rapidly through ventilation shafts, piping and cable trays to infest dark and secluded harbourages within office buildings. They can spread various diseases from Gastro-enteritis to Dysentery and Salmonella, making them a serious health hazard. Cockroaches nocturnal feeding habits mean an infestation can easily go unnoticed until the population has become widespread. Rentokil Insect Monitor Units (IMU) will discreetly monitor for their presence in your office environment and our chemical-free Entotherm heat treatment can penetrate into cracks and crevices of the office building structure to effectively eliminate cockroaches.

Entotherm Heat Treatment

Chemical-free Heat Treatment to eliminate all types of insect pests including bed bugs.

Bed bugs in furnishings

Bed bugs are typically thought of as pests frequenting bedrooms, at home or in hotels or other travel accommodation. Yet they can just as easily hitchhike on clothing, luggage, and personnel belongings or in deliveries (hidden in packaging) and make their way unseen into your office environment looking for a blood-feed. It's important that office and facility managers are aware of the warning signs of bed bugs, and precautions they can take, such as regularly inspecting the office for signs of bed bugs - checking cracks and crevices, especially around chairs, where carpets meet the walls, and behind electrical sockets, not only around desks and reception areas but in break rooms, canteens, lounges, and other locations with plush furnishings where people congregate and if you suspect bed bugs are present seek professional pest control help immediately, before they have as chance to spread. Rentokil’s Entotherm heat treatment is a chemical-free method of eliminating bed bugs (and other insects such as cockroaches and moths) through the targeted application of heat.

Fleas or cable bugs in the office carpet?

Small and flightless insects, fleas are external parasites that need a blood feed to lay eggs. They prefer animal hosts to feed on, but several types will happily bite people including cat, dog, bird and rat fleas. Pest animals can also bring fleas into your office space, such as birds and rats nesting near or within the building. If not treated swiftly, flea problems can quickly affect your business. We offer effective solutions to allow flea infestations to be dealt with swiftly helping to protect your employees, visitors and customers from flea bites and reducing the risk of low staff morale and negative impact on your business reputation. Rentokil Flea Riddance and Monitoring solution combines highly targeted spray treatments and innovative flea trap monitoring units. After the Flea Riddance treatment is complete there is a maintenance option to retain the traps within your office as an effective monitoring tool with planned technician visits to monitor and maintain the units, providing early warning of any future flea issues.

There are occasions when staff may have what looks like flea bites, when in fact the red marks can be caused by issues such as static electricity or tiny particles of card or paper dust circulated through ventilation systems that can cause skin irritation. This phenomenon is known as ‘cable bug’. If there is an issue in your office with undefined biting insects it’s essential to get professional identification to confirm exactly which pest insect (or not) is causing the problem so that the most appropriate and effective treatments can be used to resolve the issue.


Flies can give a poor first impression when visitors arrive at your office reception area, but they can become more than just a nuisance. There are a number of fly species that are attracted to food stuffs, including house flies, fruit flies, drain flies and blow flies. They will mainly affect kitchen or canteen areas but can be attracted to food and drinks left on desks or in meeting rooms. House flies are major carriers of disease like Salmonella and E. coli and are attracted by any type of food. Grease and organic residue in drainage areas are breeding sites for drain flies (also known as filter, sewage or moth flies). Good office hygiene will help control flies, by hygienic management of food waste, including bin areas (see Rentokil Fly Box for external areas), keeping drains clean and free of organic matter, using fly screens on windows and vents and keeping doors closed.

Textile pests

Fleas are not the only insects that can hide in carpets, rugs, fabrics and furnishings. The Variegated Carpet Beetle larvae (known as woolly bears) have outstripped Clothes Moths larvae as the major British textile pest according to British Pest Control Association. The adult beetles feed on pollen but they lay eggs in fabrics and accumulated fluff in buildings. The larvae once hatched will feed on the natural protein 'keratin' found in any textile of animal origin including hair, fur, leather, wool and any fabrics and furnishings containing these such as carpets. Even if your office carpet is synthetic, over time it can become coated in tiny particles of food, sweat, skin flakes, hair and other organic matter so no carpets are completely immune to an infestation. Carpet Moths (also known as Tapestry Moths) are a similar size to Clothes Moths and their larvae have the same taste in fabrics and furnishings as Carpet Beetles (the ‘keratin’ in natural fibres). They happily munch through wool carpets and silk rugs. The first evidence of an infestation will be threadbare areas or holes, usually along seams. You may also find a littering of shed skin cases as the larvae moult and grow. There are a variety of professional treatments for textile pests – however the most effective solution will depend on the specific pest, extent of damage and type of furnishing affected.

Monitoring growing pest threats in busy office environments is always a challenge. Office and property managers need to react swiftly at the first sign of a pest infestation to stop it spreading. With our technology enabled solutions such as PestConnect and myRentokil you can manage, monitor and respond to pest activity more effectively reducing the impact of an infestation and allowing you to get on with business.