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TESTING BAIT PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE

A pest control company from NSW tests BASF’s Selontra against rodents at a particularly challenging commercial account.

Jon Renton of Renton’s Pest Control in Gunnedah NSW is very appreciative of the progress that’s been made in pest control since his father Ken joined the industry way back in 1970. Since joining his father in the business in 1994, Mr Renton has always been willing to try out new products, but is too experienced to take them simply on trust. When persuaded to try out BASF’s rodenticide Selontra, he set up a test to find out how good it was.

Mr Renton had been told that one of the key advantages of Selontra Soft Bait is its superior palatability. That seemed a pretty easy advantage to test out, so he decided to see for himself whether rodents would eat it in preference to other baits.

For the last 12 years, the Renton’s team has been responsible for pest control at a local flour mill – a very tempting destination for rodents. “It’s tricky,” said Mr Renton, “because it’s situated on a railway line and there are always a lot of rats coming in.” While they have always managed to maintain good control under such high pressure, there’s never been a shortage of pests on which to try products. So they put out some Selontra in a mix of bait stations that also included two other soft baits and a wax block.

“Selontra worked exceptionally well from the start,” said Mr Renton. His team noticed a difference at their scheduled monthly check, but extended the trial for a second month just to make sure. “Over the two months, the rats were attacking the Selontra a lot more than the other products.”

Selontras’s stop-feed formulation prevents rodents from further feeding after 24 hours, so all the extra Selontra being consumed had to be affecting a very large number of pests.

Father and son Ken (left) and Jon Renton of Renton’s Pest Control, Gunnedah, NSW

After seeing such a clear difference over two months, Mr Renton felt the decision to switch the whole site across to Selontra was an easy one to make. Making that change also brought other Selontra advantages into play.

Selontra should always be put out in lockable bait boxes to avoid non-target consumption. However, its rapidly metabolised non-anticoagulant active means it has a reduced risk of causing secondary poisoning (Eason et al. 2000), which allows for use along perimeter fencelines. This key benefit meant Mr Renton and the team could put out 60 Selontra bait stations around the perimeter and on the fenceline of the mill.

The combination of the attractive bait and moving the first line of protection away from the building produced excellent results. “We had better control this winter than in previous years,” said Mr Renton, “and this year has been a big one for rodents.”

Fitting Selontra into a lockable bait station

The success of their two-month trial at the flour mill convinced Renton’s Pest Control to switch its other two regular baiting sites over to Selontra as well. One of the sites produces horse feed, much of it for export. The site is regularly inspected by customers, so it is very important that all rodent activity is very tightly controlled.

The change to Selontra allowed Mr Renton and his team to introduce fenceline baiting to that site for the first time and it had an immediate impact. “We were getting more strikes along the fenceline than we were around the factory,” he explained. “They’ve had a lot of trouble with field mice, because there’s scrub all around. They inspect all the bait stations and traps fortnightly and since we put out the Selontra they’ve noticed a lot less rodent activity.”

The final site is a grain mill that has traditionally experienced less pest pressure. Mr Renton was happy to upgrade the site to Selontra as well, with equally satisfying results. “They’ve had no problems there at all,” he said.

For Mr Renton, the introduction of Selontra to the company’s range of pest control solutions is the latest in a long line of improvements over the years. “It’s great to have these better products available,” he said. “When I first started, you used phosphides. We don’t use any of that anymore. And so long as you take your time to understand the situation and use the best solution, you’ll get a better result now than you would have 10 or 20 years ago. You can walk away satisfied that you’ve done all you can to reduce the problems your customers might otherwise have.”

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