Graham Burgess provides a local pest control service, including Bees, Wasps, Mice, Rabbits, Mink, Moles, Rats, Earwigs and Birds. This month he has written a feature on Rodenticides.
At this time of year it is worth checking your garden or plot for signs of rats before the winter months set in. If a rat population is low then control measures can be carried out yourself using licensed baits and traps, but if an infestation is found then you will need to call in a pest controller to solve the problem, so early action is best.
A planned approach is needed when using Rodenticides to avoid a threat to non target animals including pets and predatory birds including owls. To do this; thoroughly check your area, looking for signs of rats and wildlife. Do not disturb the site as this could make bait acceptance more difficult to achieve. Obvious food such as spilled grain should be removed as far as possible and any food sources covered. Rodenticide baits can then be placed on ‘rat runs’ and near signs of rat activity. Ensure bait is not accessible to non target animals by using a purpose made bait station that secures the bait inside. Once the bait is placed, disturb/move as little as possible, only checking to monitor the rate it is being taken and replace as necessary. In most cases the bait should have achieved control within 35 days. Should activity continue beyond this then a more potent anticoagulant is probably required and a pest controller should be called. It is important that Rodenticide baits are only used for as long as is necessary to achieve satisfactory control. Once control is achieved it is then time to carry out any environmental changes which can be made to reduce the attractiveness of the site to rodents. Usually this will involve rodent proofing and removing rubbish and weeds that provide harbourages and cover.
Key point to remember are:
Always record quantity of bait used and where it is placed.
Always use enough baiting points.
Always collect and dispose of rodent bodies.
Never leave bait exposed to non-target animals and birds.
Never fail to inspect bait regularly.
Never leave bait down at the end of treatment.