Having a proper rodent control program is necessary when rats and mice occupy not only living spaces but areas where livestock and other animals feed and drink. We had a chance to have Chris Morales, a Research and Development/Field Support Manager at LiphaTech, give a thorough and well-planned presentation about the ABCs of Rodent Biology and Behavior.
Chris started out as a laboratory biologist working with rats and mice and developed new product formulations for better rodent control in the field.
We're highlighting a few points of interest in his talk to provide five tips on how to achieve effective rat and mice control for pest control professionals. However, we'd recommend watching the talk on our YouTube channel to learn even more than the five talking points we've presented in this blog.
5 Tips for Better Rodent Control
Know your rodent.
It's important to know what you're dealing with if you want to target the rodents more successfully. After all, if you misidentify the rodent, you'll use the wrong bait and have a worse infestation weeks and months later. Let's take a look at a few of the most common rodents that occupy areas:
- Is it a house mouse? It has a small, pear-shaped body measuring up to 3-1/2 inches in length with four front incisors, large ears for its size, a long 3- or 4-inch tail, beady protruding eyes, and varies in color from light brown to dark gray or black with a lighter-colored belly. It's also known as a common house mouse or a domestic house mouse.
- Is it a roof rat? It has a longer, slender body measuring 6-1/2 to 8 inches in length with four front incisors, large ears, a hairless tail measuring longer than its body, a pointed nose, long whiskers, large black eyes, and is usually dark brown or nearly black in color with a light gray belly. It's also called a black rat or a ship rat.
- Is it a Norway rat? It has a heavy, thicker body measuring up to 10 inches in length with four front incisors, average-sized ears close to the body, a hairless tail measuring between 6 and 8-1/2 inches in length, a blunt nose, and colored grayish-brown or varies from light gray to dark brown with a lighter belly. It's also called a brown rat, a common rat, a sewer rat or a barn rat.
Create an IPM program.
Knowledge is the key to creating an effective rodent control program. Arming yourself with information can help you identify the pest correctly, implement an effective strategy, and eliminate an infestation sooner rather than later. The steps to create an effective integrated pest management (IPM) program include:
- Determining the severity of the infestation by inspecting structures and surrounding areas and identifying the problematic conditions
- Identifying which rodent species are occupying the space and determining the size of the overall rodent population in the area
- Implementing the right elimination methods for the area of the infestation, i.e. food-processing facilities, dairy barns, etc.
- Taking measures to sanitize the area by removing food, water and shelter for the rodents, keeping in mind if you sanitize before eliminating the rodents, they will move to another location and continue to infest the surrounding areas
- Sealing cracks, crevices and voids where new rodents could enter the area. You must eliminate the interior infestation beforehand; otherwise, the rodents will have no escape and will continue to breed within the structure
- Evaluating the program over time and making adjustments to implement new methods of rodent removal
Watch for allergens.
Rodents, such as rats and mice, can cause allergic reactions in many people. These allergens include:
- Feces and urine
- Serum (blood)
Anytime you're in a rodent-infested area, it's highly important to wear your PPE, or personal protective equipment. Always be sure to wear long sleeves and pants to limit exposure to these allergens. A mask is also helpful to prevent breathing in fur and dander; gloves are also a must.
Find rodent bait that works.
Which mode of action works best for rodent control: an anticoagulant, a calcium disruptor, a nervous system disruptor, snap traps or something else? When using baits, palatability is very important. In real world scenarios, the bait is competing with seeds, trash, meat and other food sources in the area. Therefore, soft baits must be extremely palatable to make the rodents prefer it over other food.
First Strike is a LiphaTech-produced soft bait with the active ingredient difethialone, an anticoagulant with 100 percent palatability. It doesn't contain wax and attracts both rats and mice, often outcompeting other food sources in the infestation area.
TakeDown is another one of LiphaTech's effective rodent baits. It contains bromethalin as the active ingredient, a rodenticide poison that affects the central nervous system. It's extremely palatable, doesn't melt in hot environments and provides faster results than anticoagulant rodent baits.
Snap traps and glue boards are also effective rodent control products that can complement baits. It's always important to test the products and make adjustments depending on their effectiveness and the areas in which they are used.
Learn where to place the bait.
Having the right bait placement strategy is vital to your success. Rodents create specific paths between their nests and where the food and water is. They rarely stray from these paths unless they're forced to by an obstruction or something that doesn't "seem" right. Therefore, you need to place the bait, snap traps and other control devices where the rodents travel and will eat the bait. Putting the bait in the wrong place won't stop an infestation, so find the pathways or place the bait in another location after a week if the rodents don't show any interest.
Get Rid of Rodents with Heritage PPG
Find rodent control products, useful tips and more at Heritage PPG. With the right products and a strategic IPM program, you'll be able to kill the rodents more effectively and reduce future infestations in the area.