Superstore fights its mice infestation

The mice in Whitehorse’s Real Canadian Superstore have dug into their nests for an extended battle, and pest control staff hired to help are M.

The mice in Whitehorse’s Real Canadian Superstore have dug into their nests for an extended battle, and pest control staff hired to help are M.I.A.

Reports first surfaced in the media in April of rodents scurrying across aisles and getting into pet food and bags of dry goods.

Local health services conducted a surprise inspection the first Friday in June, and were not entirely pleased with the findings.

Inspectors were set to re-evaluate the store’s efforts after two weeks, but only showed up at the store on Monday.

“The assessment that the officer made was that there was some improvement; however there’s still room for improvement,” said Eric Bergsma, who has recently taken over as manager of Yukon’s Environmental Health Services.

Superstore has a pest control company on contract; the Kelowna-based exterminator paid a visit “a week or two ago,” said Bergsma.

Orkin/PCO is contracted for pest control services for BC and Yukon’s Superstores, staff in Orkin’s Kelowna office confirmed.

Pest control contractors initiated some mouse trapping, while employees and cleaning staff have reportedly begun more targeted cleaning and monitoring.

“Mostly what they’d do is walk up and down the aisles and inspect foods in areas where they’ve noticed the mice before,” said Bergsma.

Superstore management was unable to comment on actions it has taken, citing corporate policy.

Yukon’s Environmental Health Services’ inspectors are “happy” with the store’s pest-control efforts, said Superstore spokesperson Lori Stene.

Besides cleaning the affected aisles, staff have also fully cleaned the back room, sealed gaps in the floor, and have installed weather-stripping on doors. Aisles are being checked “continually.”

Stene also said that the number of visits by pest control experts has been increased.

“Somebody from PCO has been in our store every week,” said Stene.

Orkin’s Kelowna office indicated that the man who has taken over Whitehorse’s case was on-site in early June and is not due back until July 10.

Stene, who is based in Westfair Food’s main Calgary office, also indicated that PCO staff are the only ones laying out traps during the supposed once-a-week visits.

Customers aren’t likely to see too many mice it the daytime — the animals prefer the quieter night hours for foraging.

Mice can transmit salmonella through their saliva. Shoppers are advised to check their purchases for tampering.

“The instructions that we would give is that if you’re looking through the product and you find that it is chewed, throw it out,” said Bergsma.

Environmental Health Services is planning to take additional steps to get Superstore’s mouse infestation resolved quickly.

“We’ve only ever had two complaints since last April,” said Bergsma.

“If it were a really big problem we’d be getting complaints every day.”