Gavin Wilson, Technical and Marketing Manager for Liphatech, shares his approach to rodent control, using the term ‘integrated rodent management’ or IRM.
Before you can effectively prevent or control a rodent infestation, it is essential to understand your pest. Learning about identification, rodent behaviour, control methods and treatment tactics is the best way to plan an effective strategy for controlling unwanted rats and mice.
The best practice is then to use this extensive information to deliver a rodent management program using best practice integrated pest management (IPM) techniques. With IPM techniques vital, yet often overlooked in rodent control, the term integrated rodent management (IRM) gives extra weighting to these techniques. So what does a good IRM program look like?
A successful IRM program sees the pest manager forming a comprehensive plan of attack that uses the appropriate combination of tools such as: identification and assessment; preventative measures; treatments and monitoring; and evaluation. The goal is to ‘work smart’, cost-effectively controlling pests with the least amount of risk to the environment and customer.
Firstly, the pest manager must thoroughly inspect infested buildings and surrounding areas. The goal is to identify the pest rodent species and ascertain their population numbers. It is equally important to note any sanitation concerns, or conditions that may be providing rodents with food, water and shelter, and reduce these harbourage sites.
Secondly, recommendations are made regarding exclusion measures. Excluding rodents from buildings is paramount not only for treating the active infestation but for preventing future outbreaks.
Thirdly, the pest manager recommends control solutions specific to the rodent species, and the infestation site. This must be a tailored solution, particularly in sensitive locations, such as food manufacturing facilities, schools, hospitals and residential housing. Ongoing monitoring is the final step.
While all elements of an IRM program are equally important, two particular elements can pose a challenge for managers.
For a rodent control program to be successful, the customer will often have to take an active role. In the first instance, this means reducing harbourage areas by keeping grass and vegetation short, cutting back any trees overhanging the roof and eliminating clutter and debris outside. All garbage should be housed in appropriate bins with tight fitting covers/lids. The customer must also minimise the rodents’ water sources as much possible, as rats need water daily and mice will drink free standing water if available. The challenge for the pest manager is to ensure the customer takes these measures.
Secondly the goal of exclusion requires significant customer input. It is much easier to control rodents outside of a structure than within, so the most successful and permanent form of rodent control is to ‘build them out’. Cracks and openings in building foundations must be sealed. Doors, windows and screens should be tight fitting. No gaps!
Use materials that are gnawproof, such as steel wool, hardware cloth (19 gauge or heavier), perforated metal (24 gauge thickness), sheet metal (galvanised 26 gauge or heavier), and cement mortar (1:3 mixture or richer). Materials with an opening of 0.5 cm/quarter inch or less will exclude both rats and mice.
When taking control measures, it is important to use a formulation that is best suited for the particular conditions. At Liphatech we understand the challenge rodent control presents to pest managers, so we constantly strive to develop new, innovative technologies and materials to help fight rodent infestations.
In wet, damp or humid areas, we recommend the use of Maki Block or Maki Wrapped as this formulation is highly mould-resistant and includes the Liphatech-discovered active ingredient bromadiolone. The design of Maki Wrapped minimises bait damage and waste caused by slugs and insects.
For large infestations or where rapid control is required, we recommend the use of a soft bait, either First Strike (which contains Liphatech-discovered difethialone) or Resolv Soft Bait (containing Liphatech’s bromadiolone). Our soft baits contain no wax and the use of food-grade oils and grains increases attractiveness and palatability for quicker uptake. For those who prefer using a block bait in these difficult situations, we have you covered with Generation Block. It contains Liphatech’s difethialone in a 15 g block, providing a rapid knockdown with a greater number of bait placements per pail, made possible due to its smaller size.
When baiting, place baits in tamper proof rodent stations, and position secure them in the areas rodents are frequenting. It pays to put out more bait than one might think is necessary, as underbaiting is one of the most common mistakes in rodent control.
Having taken the above measures as part of an IRM program, pest managers should then evaluate the results and make necessary improvements to the program. This is the key to successful rodent control.
Gavin Wilson, Technical and Marketing Manager, Liphatech