Melissa Cameron, Liphatech’s national technical and marketing manager, outlines the importance of taking an IPM approach to rodent control.
IRM (Integrated Rodent Management) is a very important tool for managing rodent infestations and controlling outbreaks. The NPMA definition of IPM is, ‘Common sense and sound solutions for treating and controlling pests. Select the best treatment option’. Basically this means go back to the basics of IPM, or a common sense approach from a pest manager’s view and provide effective, low risk, environmentally friendly IPM services to the customer.
As a general rule for control of any pest exclusion, the best policy and the four main principles of exclusion are:
- Don’t let the rodents eat. Maintain good sanitation, remove food waste and trash, and ensure proper food storage etc
- Don’t let the rodents drink. Eliminate moisture sources by proper ventilation, repair defective plumbing, roof leaks, dripping air conditioning etc. On the exterior, tend to over-water
- Don’t let them come in. Prevent entry and exclude pests. Caulk, seal, screen and patch exterior pest entry points, and trim vegetation
- Don’t let them hide out. Prevent shelter and harbourage, reduce clutter as well as conducive conditions. Maintain a plant, weed and pest free zone around the structure exterior.
When it comes to controlling an infestation using IRM you have toxic and non-toxic options, that include baiting, stations, traps and glueboards.
There are currently seven anticoagulant bait actives on the market – brodifacoum, difenacoum, difethialone, bromadiolone, flocoumafen, warfarin and coumatetralyl. The first five are single-feed active ingredients that are usually the preferred choice for professional pest managers.
It is also important to choose the correct bait delivery, with the options being blocks, pellets, soft bait and liquid. The most common and most effective are blocks and soft bait. However, you must choose a palatable bait as all actives will kill rodents but you have to get them to eat it first! Studies have found that soft baits are very palatable to rodents, while blocks are useful if they are palatable and provide a gnawing edge for the rodents.
When choosing a station it must be strong and lockable and made with weather-resistant plastics to withstand the Australian climate. A station can be used for both toxic (place bait inside) or non-toxic (place trap inside) control. Many stations will not hold a trap so it is important to source one like the Aegis RP (pictured above) that holds a rat trap and can be secured at the site of placement.
Rat and mouse traps can be very effective if used correctly. Placement and design are the most important features to look for. Another thing to consider is handling – you want to be able to dispose of the rodent without touching it and reset and re-use the trap with ease. The new Liphatech Mouse Trap has a no-touch set, capture, release and reset system for ease of servicing.
Rodent behaviour will also determine how effective your IRM program will be. To understand the best course of action you need to be aware that rodents change their food sources throughout the year, so a mix of protein, sugar and fat based foods are necessary. It may be of benefit to vary baits and attractants or give them options in a station. Some will like chewing on hard blocks and some on soft baits so provide both in a bait station and give them a choice. Once you know which one is being eaten, add more of that one.
Rodents will use different areas within a site during different periods so it is important to check roofs, walls, boxes, pipes etc, and place traps and baits in areas showing rodent activity. Always ensure enough bait is available even if you seem to have control, as once a colony is eliminated, it isn’t unusual for another one to move into the space.
Rodents can also have small or large areas that they cover from feeding to nesting. Mice can have a home radius of 1m or over 100m dependant on the situation. Rats can have home radius of 1m to over 1km if needed. Place stations and traps at correct intervals along runways looking for signs such as rub marks and droppings.
If you use your common sense, and inspect a site properly and identify the type of rodent, you will have success and the rodent population under control.