Bell Labs’ glow-in-the-dark rodent bait hits the mark with pest managers looking for a non-toxic monitoring rodent block.

As we move into a more and more non-toxic world, the use of chemical pesticides is becoming frowned upon by some, and outright banned by others. This is no more true than in the case of rodent management. The familiar practice of “maintenance baiting” is one that in some environments – particularly HACCP food manufacturing premises, is becoming a thing of the past.

Non-toxic rodent baits can seem somewhat counterintuitive. A common refrain amongst pest managers is along the lines of “I don’t want to feed them; I want to kill them!”

However, the use of non-toxic baits is becoming more commonplace – for monitoring both internally and externally. Once rodent activity is identified on the non-toxic bait, a control tool can be put into place – either rodenticide baits, or physical methods such as snap traps. This is
a more targeted approach to rodent management that sits comfortably with the principles of Integrated Pest Management, and keeps auditors happy!

The advantages to the environment are obvious; a reduced quantity of rodenticides in the environment means a reduced possibility of exposure to non-target species. A reduction in exposure to rodenticides by non- target species means a reduced risk of secondary poisoning, particularly to birds of prey – something that in recent years has become of great concern in the United Kingdom and Europe.

But there are benefits to the pest manager too, and these are becoming clear across Australia. With no active ingredient, non-toxic baits are more palatable than their rodenticide counterparts.

Samuel Wood, technical services representative for Bell Laboratories said, “Masking the flavour of the active ingredient is the biggest challenge for manufacturers of rodenticides. Essentially, the more toxic the active ingredient, the less palatable it is, and therefore the more challenging it becomes to make the bait appealing to rodents.”

Using a non-toxic bait, such as Detex Blox at the beginning of a rodent treatment is best practice for a number of reasons. Made of pure food ingredients, Detex competes against other food sources exceptionally well, so feeding behaviours within bait stations become established more readily than they otherwise would – and when members of the colony feed at the bait station and no harm is caused, it helps to overcome the rats’ natural neophobic aversion and possible bait shyness.

John Pay, owner of Go Pest in Bendigo, Victoria said “I met with Sam, and at first I was sceptical of what he said regarding Detex, but the results I’ve had on a poultry farm speak for themselves. I’ve since been using Detex in every bait station, alongside the rodenticide bait and found that the uptake has increased significantly – along with the number of dead rats! It’s been especially useful in areas where’d we’d previously encountered bait shyness. I’ve even been crumbling down the Detex Blox and mixing it with Ditrac pellets when baiting burrows, and the results have been astounding.”

Additionally, Detex contains Lumitrack, an ingredient that causes rodent droppings to luminesce under ultraviolet light, which can be incredibly useful when tracking infestations. AJ Whitehead, of Pied Piper Pest Control based in Hobart, Tasmania has a similar success story. “I’ve been using Bell baits for many years, but have only recently started utilising Detex. As well as its excellent palatability, it’s enabled me to track activity to certain areas within commercial buildings using a UV torch, and make more detailed recommendations to my customers. I’ve also found Lumitrack to be especially useful for demonstrating to domestic clients that the bait has been consumed and that they’re getting the service that they’ve paid for!”

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