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EFFECTIVE CONTROL OF RODENTS ON FARMS

on Tuesday, 06 February 2018. Posted in Blog, Property, Tillage, Sheep, Dairy, Beef

Why:  Need to control rodent pests (brown rats and house mice)

  • human and animal health; contamination; structural damage; QA compliance

How:  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) EXCLUDE, RESTRICT, SURVEY & MAP, DESTROY, REVIEW, CLEAN UP & MONITOR

EXCLUDE: Proofing;  (Do not interfere with bird and bat nests/roosts)

  • Building or drain defects (broken pipes, defective sewer chamber covers, bad brickwork, damaged cladding

  • If infestation is present avoid extensive disturbance until control is achieved.

RESTRICT:  Food and water

  • Ensure that all available sources of food and water for rodents are removed or contained

SURVEY & MAP

    • Inspect and record the further areas for Exclusion and restriction

    • Inspect and record the Type, level and extent of rodent infestation

    • If infestation is present do not disturb the site until control has been achieved

    • degree of public access, and presence of children

    • presence / potential presence of non-target animals - pets, farm livestock, and wildlife

    • evidence of poor housekeeping and hygiene; alternative food sources and water; obvious – all of which should be noted on the site plan

    • risks likely to arise for operators, employees and others by treatment and arrangements to minimize risks arising

    • risks likely to arise for non-target species that may be present in or frequent the farm, and steps required to minimize those risks

DESTROY

Biological control (Dogs & Cats) Trapping, Chemicals

If trapping and/or biological controls are excluded or have been ineffective, chemical options must be considered.  The least toxic chemical that will be effective should be used.

  • Choice of rodenticide:- Carefully consider the choice of rodenticide

    Non-anticoagulants

    • rodenticides containing alphachloralose may only be used indoors for the control of house mice – correct usage presents minimal risk to humans and non-target animals

            Anticoagulants

    • first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, warfarin, chlorophacinone and coumatetralyl, are less acutely toxic and less persistent in animal tissues than second generation compounds, but larger quantities over longer periods are required to achieve control.   Were there there is evidence of resistance to them they should not be used, to avoid risks to non-target species.

    • second-generation anticoagulants, brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, difenacoum and flocoumafen are acutely toxic and have long half-lives.  Their use presents greatest risk to wildlife.  They should only be used as a last resort. 

  • Choice of bait formulation (meal, cut or whole grain, pellets, wax blocks, contact gels and foam):-

    • particulate baits may be more palatable to rodents than wax blocks, but wax blocks may be better in adverse conditions. 

    • in baiting burrows, treated grain is less likely to be expelled than wax blocks

  • Critical Points in Selection and Use of Rodenticide Products

    • only use a rodenticide product that is authorized by the DAFM

    • follow the instructions for use as printed on the product label carefully

    • ensure that bait is adequately protected from children and from non-target animals – tamper resistant bait boxes can be made or can be purchased.

    • where bait is placed in rat burrows, cover the entrance with a twist of straw or grass

    • baits used indoors should be placed on trays to facilitate recovery at the end of treatment

    • use enough baiting points – a record and map of all baiting points must be maintained 

    • regular inspections are required and bait should be replenished on a weekly basis, until feeding has stopped.

    • during inspections search for and remove dead and dying rodents, and dispose of them with the farm’s domestic waste, normal non-hazardous waste or by deep burying (> 50 cm)

REVIEW, CLEAN UP & MONITOR

  • Once an infestation is controlled,

    • bait should be removed - infestations should be controlled in at most 35 days. 

    • remove debris, rubbish, old machinery and equipment, unwanted straw/ hay; harbourage, Improve housekeeping, Hygiene, Stacking and access.

    • clear vegetation around buildings to provide an open perimeter, so that natural predators (e.g. farm cats, pine martens, owls) can take rodents – vegetation clearance should nor be carried out during the nesting season (March to August);

    • initiate a monitoring programme to check for possible re-infestation using non-toxic bait and regular inspections.

  • If precautionary measures (proofing and hygiene) are rigorously implemented, infestations will be infrequent, small and easy to deal with using traps.

  • Re-invasion is most likely to occur from neighbouring hedgerows, banks and ditches.

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