A pest control provider is advising companies of the threat posed by rodents to premises that are lying vacant as a result of the lockdown.
Rentokil believes that rats and mice will seek to explore these empty buildings in search of food and shelter.
The buildings will offer the animals a warm, sheltered environment where they will be undisturbed by humans and predators, providing a perfect breeding ground for them.
The company also expects the closure of restaurants will result in increased rodent infestations in vacant buildings.
With less food waste available for rodents to scavenge in outdoor bins, they are likely to travel further in search of food, venturing beyond their normal environments.
The top four counties which have accounted for rodent callouts so far this year (January – April) are: Dublin (31% of callouts), Meath (10%), Cork (9%), and Kildare (7%).
Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said: "Empty buildings are under serious threat of infestations from rodents during the lockdown period.
"Rats and mice can access premises quite easily, through very small gaps or cracks, and can then settle there and multiply in numbers.
"Where possible, companies should seek to utilise unmanned pest control solutions to combat the presence of these pests in vacant buildings."
Rentokil is advising businesses to explore unmanned, non-toxic pest control solutions, such as PestConnect, a digital solution which provides 24 hour protection from rodents.
Through a system of infrared sensors, it detects and then captures or humanely kills rodents using automatically deployed bait stations and traps.
Unmanned devices like PestConnect do not require human interaction.
After installation, a technician will only visit when a rodent has been captured, reducing unnecessary visits to the site and enabling adherence to social distancing guidelines. The device sends updates and reports to users online.
The company is advising business owners to utilise digital, non-toxic solutions such as this in place of poisons, due to recent changes in national rules which prohibit the use of toxic baiting except for specific situations.