Rodent Proof Cabling

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Oct 18, 2012

The biggest risk to your surveillance systems can be from the smallest threats. Cabling that connects and powers cameras is quite vulnerable, but often nothing is done to protect it from being damaged by insects and rodents. In this note, we examine the problem of rodent damaged cables, the options for combatting the issue, and how much those options cost.

Problem Overview

Rodent damage occurs when animals or insects attack cable jacketing and wire cores. Even when damage is limited to "superficial" jacket damage, the underlying cable is left susceptible to shorts, breaks, and interference. Every major classification of cable used in video surveillance: Coax, UTP, and Optical Fiber is vulnerable to being damaged by pests, invariably in hard-to-access locations.

Pests and rodents destroy cable jackets for a variety of reasons:

Chewing Impulse: Because rodent's teeth grow continuously over their lifetime, the animals frequently chew to keep incisor length in check. Especially given the hardness and density of cabling compared to natural materials, wire bundles are a frequent target of attack.

Attracted to Material: Often, insects find a food source in the insulating materials or in the gel conductive layers. In the absence of better food sources, pests may find sustenance from cabling. In addition to being food, the odor, texture, and color of cabling can attract pests.

Warmth/Electromagnetism: Several types of rodents are attracted to the warmth of conductors inside cable jackets, or are sensitive to the EMI of the cabling. This affinity is the source of significant cable damage.

The image below depicts multiple examples of cabling damage:

The problem is compounded because damage and breakage occurs at hard-to-reach locations - not only in cable segments buried in ceilings and walls, but often in runs buried in the earth or under concrete. As a result, cable repairs are expensive and often result in abandonment of damaged lines and re-running entire segments.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Problem Solutions

There are a few cabling products that market 'rodent resistance', including:

  • Kevlar Jacketing: the fabric in bullet-proof vests and tank armor makes an impermeable, direct bury type cable cover than cannot be penetrated by rodent teeth or claws. Kevlar is chemically inert and will not attract insects.
  • Braided Metal Jacketing: An alternative to Kevlar, woven metallic sleeving can be installed around standard cabling.
  • Chemically Treated Jacketing: specialty cabling products are available with 'anti-rodent' additives [link no longer available] cast into the jacketing plastic during manufacture.
  • Anti-Pest Plastic Coating: Cabling can be field dipped before installation into rubber-like coatings formulated to hide odors and insulate heat transmission.
  • Chemically treated Pull Compound: Some integrators have described success in keeping rodents at bay by adding repelling fragrances to cable installation 'pull compound' [link no longer available]. This allows standard cabling to be used, but field installed to be 'rodent resistant'.

Other successful, albeit costly, methods of preventing problems include running cabling in hard conduit pipe or 'EMT' tubing, and in sealed raceways. In the next section, we examine the general cost of each solution.

Cost Comparison

As a general rule, those most effective anti-rodent protections are those that add metallic barriers to cabling, ie conduit and EMT. However, this method is also the most costly in both additional materials and installation labor. Chemical additives are less expensive, but the potency (effectiveness) will wear off over time.

  • Conduit: 3/4" tubing costs an average of $0.40 - $0.55 per foot. For an average run of 150 feet, conduit adds ~$60 - $75.
  • Specialty Jackets: Whether factory applied or field installed sheathing, specialty jackets using cost an additional $0.25 - $0.35 per foot. For the average camera run, using specialty jackets add ~ $35 - $55.
  • Chemical Coatings: While varied in form, dipping cables in chemicals or coating jackets with fragrances adds between $0.02 - $0.10 per foot. For the average run, chemical coatings add ~ $3 - $15.

For a typical system of 16 - 24 cameras, taking 'rodent proofing' measures can add $500 - $1500 in cost, but that expense can save thousands of dollars over the operation life of a system in prevented downtime, troubleshooting, and repair materials and labor.

1 report cite this report:

Comprehensive Surveillance Cabling Guide on Dec 17, 2014
Surveillance cabling seems mundane, yet is a critical topic. A system with the best equipment can still be a failure if the network connecting it...
Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Horizontal Cabling for Video Surveillance Guide on Jan 03, 2020
There are a few options when it comes to professionally installing horizontal cabling for video surveillance networks. The three options examined...
Access Startup Multi-Mount Aims To Streamline Reader Installs on Dec 03, 2019
Startup Multi-Mount claims it makes installing access readers 'Fast', 'Secure,' and fit 'any size frame.' The company states its bracket 'fits most...
IP Camera Mount Shootout - Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Vivotek on Nov 04, 2019
Which manufacturers offer the best or worst mounts? We bought and tested ~50 IP camera mounts and related components from Axis, Bosch, Dahua,...
Camera Cable Whip Guide on Oct 02, 2019
Cable whips are one of integrator's least favorite camera features but seem to be unavoidable, now commonplace on dome, turret, and bullet cameras...
Lasers Impact on Surveillance Cameras Tested on Sep 25, 2019
Hong Kong protests have brought global attention to video surveillance and the ongoing attempts of protesters to disable or undermine those cameras...
Locking Down Network Connections Guide on Apr 23, 2019
Accidents and inside attacks are risks when network connections are not locked down. Security and video surveillance systems should be protected...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Pole Mount Camera Installation Guide on Apr 11, 2019
Poles are a popular but challenging choice for deploying surveillance cameras outdoors. Poles are indispensable for putting cameras at the right...
Outdoor Camera Installation Guide on Mar 25, 2019
Outdoor camera installation can be fraught with problems. Creating a sturdy and weather tight mount is key for camera performance and longevity,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

JCI / Tyco Security Products Layoffs on Jun 05, 2020
Johnson Controls / Tyco Security Products has confirmed COVID-19 related layoffs, expanding upon the April coronavirus cuts the company previously...
EyePark Presents Mobile Driver Authentication on Jun 05, 2020
EyePark presented its long-range QR code parking verification platform at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from EyePark...
Bleenco "Under The Tongue" Temperature Detection Examined on Jun 05, 2020
"Say aah", says Bleenco, a PPE detection video analytics company, offering a different method for measuring body temperature with a thermal...
Hikvision and Uniview Entry Level Thermal Handheld Cameras Tested on Jun 05, 2020
While most screening systems cost $10,000 or more, manufacturers such as Hikvision and Uniview have now released handheld models for $1,000 or...
Sequr Presents HID based Cloud Access Control on Jun 04, 2020
Sequr presented HID based Cloud Access Control at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from Sequr...
VergeSense Presents People Tracking Sensor on Jun 04, 2020
VergeSense presented its people tracking sensor and social distancing insights at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from...
FLIR A Series Temperature Screening Cameras Tested on Jun 04, 2020
FLIR is one of the biggest names in thermal and one of the most conservative. While rivals have marketed fever detection, FLIR has stuck to EST...
"Fever Camera" Show On-Demand Watch Now on Jun 03, 2020
IPVM has successfully completed the world's first "Fever Camera" show. Recordings from both days are posted at the end of this report for on-demand...
Cobalt Robotics Presents Indoor Security and Access Robots on Jun 03, 2020
Cobalt Robotics presented indoor security robots at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A 30-minute video from Cobalt...
Dahua Sues Ex-North American President, Says Legal Typo on Jun 03, 2020
Dahua's former North American President Frank Zhang claims he is owed almost $11 million but Dahua counter claims it is just a "scrivener's error",...