‘Tis the season for…rotational baiting

The problem

As the weather gets colder, rats and mice seek the warmth, shelter and food supply offered up by the indoors. More than just a nuisance, these rodents can have serious adverse economic and health effects when they gain access to livestock facilities, grain storage or production facilities, and a host of other areas. In addition to the economic damage they can cause, rodents also are a threat to a facility’s biosecurity.

Roughly 20 percent of the world’s food supply is devoured by rats and mice each year. Additionally, food they don’t consume can be contaminated and destroyed by rodent droppings and urine, leading to the loss of millions of dollars annually of food in the U.S. alone, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Outside the massive damage rats and mice can cause to the food and feed supply, rodents also can severely damage structures, such as grain storage facilities, through their gnawing and burrowing behaviors. In addition to structural damage, rodents that chew through electrical wiring also pose a fire hazard, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports.

Lastly, rodents such as rats and mice are disease vectors that can spread serious illnesses such as salmonellosis, hantavirus, trichinosis and, perhaps most notoriously, bubonic plague (a.k.a. the black death).

The signs

Proper and frequent inspection of facilities can alert owners to a rodent problem before it gets out of hand. It also will provide needed information regarding bait placement, as random placement of bait is largely ineffective and costly.

Inspections should occur right after dusk and just before dawn as rodents are most active at night. If rodents are visible, note their location for future bait placement. If rodents are visible during the day, the likelihood of a severe infestation is high.

Check areas where food or feed is stored. Keep an eye out for droppings. Also check for burrows inside the facility and out, especially along the foundation. If the walls are insulated, look for expelled insulation as this means rodents may be nesting in the walls. Be sure to check insulated attics as well.

Inspect wiring for chew marks or other rodent damage. Conduit lines also should be checked for grease marks, which is caused by the rodent’s oily fur and indicates an area of high rodent traffic.

Additionally, watch for rodent tracks or runs throughout the facility.

The solution

Using the proper baiting technique can have significant economic benefits, as it cuts down on the time needed to remove the infestation, the cost of bait and can stop additional damage to facilities or inventory. A rotational baiting program ensures rodents are controlled while avoiding bait shyness or bait resistance.

Neogen provides a rotational baiting program that includes CyKill™ (bromethalin) for two months, followed by Havoc® (brodifacoum) for four months and Di-Kill® (difenacoum) for six months. Before beginning a rotational baiting program, please contact a Neogen representative for more information and proper technique depending on rodent type and infestation pressure.

It also is important to maintain proper sanitation, which is a critical component of rodent control. This includes removing piles of unnecessary materials, dried manure piles and weeds. Feed should be stored in bins that are in good condition. Disinfectants are a key component as well.

Conclusion

Rats and mice can pose a significant threat to the economic health and biosecurity of food and feed facilities, livestock housing and other processing locations. Maintaining a solid inspection and baiting plan can prevent small problems for becoming big ones.

For more information on Neogen’s rodenticides, click here.

For Neogen’s four step rodent control program click here.

For more information on Neogen’s cleaners and disinfectants, click here.

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