Steve Broadbent, Regional Director of Ensystex, takes a look at Muskil Soft Bait and shares an example of it being used at a particularly challenging commercial site. 

It’s likely we will face an interesting and challenging rodent season this year, as we encounter new market dynamics. The devastation caused from the recent bush fires may have receded from the news headlines, but their impact on our environment will be felt for some time to come.

There is less natural food around for rodents in many parts of the country, and recent weather patterns suggest we might be in for a cooler winter than last year; in fact Tasmania and Victoria experienced their first snowfalls the first weekend in April. These are all conditions that may drive rodents indoors and into urban environments in larger numbers than usual.

Complicating this of course, is the current COVID-19 pandemic and the clampdown on many services and businesses, especially those in the hospitality area. Despite many food outlets being closed and the restrictions on trade, businesses will still need to ensure they maintain high standards of hygiene. Overseas, where businesses have cut costs on rodent control measures, we have observed severe rodent infestation outbreaks. In the famous Bourbon Street area of New Orleans, with businesses closed, large numbers of hungry rodents are reported to be foraging freely on the streets at night.

Whilst there is no current evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect other animal species, it is possible that rodents could transport the virus on their bodies from an infected surface. Researchers from Princeton, UCLA and the US National Institutes of Health have reported that the virus can survive two to nine days on surfaces such as stainless steel, wood, paper, plastics and glass.1

We do know that rodents transport other viral diseases and, given the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, it is prudent that we maintain high vigilance. The importance of rodent control as an essential service should not be understated at this time.

Professional pest managers need to use the best products and management techniques to ensure success. I recently attended a presentation by rodent specialist, Dr Robert Corrigan, in which he stressed the importance of using a variety of bait stations when baiting for rodents. This makes so much sense when we note that rodents have a hierarchal social structure, with dominant and sub-dominant animals present. Despite this, most pest managers standardise on a single station size for accounts. If you consider using a range of station sizes, you are more likely to successfully bait the alpha-rodents, who will select their preferred stations, at the same time as the beta-rodents. Station variety will allow for the rodents to choose to feed where they feel most comfortable. This is why Ensystex markets a range of bait stations, all using the same patented fixation method and key-locking system, to ensure tamper-resistance and ease of placement and checking.

Secure bait stations, correctly placed, need to be supported with a high-quality bait. Ensystex recommends the use of Muskil Soft Bait, which is based on a moist Italian soft pasta recipe that is highly palatable. Since it uniquely blends two actives together, difenacoum and bromadiolone, it creates a rodenticide that provides fast kill with reduced non-target risks.

Phil Prescott of Braeside Pest Control in Victoria (pictured above) discovered first-hand the benefits of Muskil when he was called upon to resolve a serious and long-standing rodent infestation at the Braeside store of a well- respected national pet food chain. After a previous pest manager had struggled for over six months without success, and with stock losses regularly around $5,000 a week, the franchise owner turned to Mr Prescott for help.

Mr Prescott baited heavily using Muskil Soft Bait and reaped the rewards of its fast action and high palatability. “It took us only two weeks to bring the situation to a high level of control with stock losses down to just $500 in the second week,” Mr Prescott explained. “This was an amazing result when you consider the wide range of competing foods, how well established the population was, and the need to lure them away from their current high protein diet. The combination of Muskil Soft Bait and Ensystex bait stations delivered exceptional performance.

The pet food store had a serious infestation, with rodents discovered in pet displays

“We were then able to adopt a more holistic approach and arrange for improvements to be made to stock storage, hygiene standards and proofing to prevent access from outside populations and resolve the rodent issues at the store.”

Commensal rodents are naturally bait shy and wary of new things, however Muskil is able to defeat this by employing Fluo-NP Technology, a fluorescent red dye that absorbs light in the UV range. This allows the rodents to identify the bait as something that other members of their family have already inspected or encountered. To them it looks like others have urinated on it, to declare it safe.

“Muskil’s Fluo-NP Technology really seems to work. We certainly seem to observe faster feeding with Muskil, which gives us confidence we will get on top of problems faster,” said Mr Prescott.

Muskil’s small 10 g sachets allow for more bait placements. And, since a 10 g sachet is enough to kill up to five rats, Muskill will drive your dollar further.

Steve Broadbent, Regional Director, Ensystex

1 Kampf, G. et al. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 104, Issue 3, 246 – 251 (2020).