Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Prepare for expected influx of rodents this autumn

October 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

An influx of rodents is expected this autumn after the hot, dry summer encouraged an extended breeding period and a high number of surviving offspring.

“Numbers are likely to be well above average this autumn,” says Roger Simpson of pest control experts Lodi UK. “Food and shelter in fields are declining quickly and average temperatures are beginning to fall, particularly at night, so rodents will quickly begin to migrate indoors.”

Farmers face an additional challenge to keep rats out of stores and buildings because new European legislation governing the sale and use of rodenticides came into effect on 1 March. This makes it harder to purchase the products deemed necessary for rodent control.

The new European rodenticide regulations are designed to ensure that products are used in ways which minimise their exposure to wildlife and other non-target species. The sale and use of professional-strength products are now strictly limited.

Until 28 February, non-professionals could still purchase professional-strength rodenticides, classified as those containing 50 parts per million (ppm) of anticoagulant rodenticide active substances, but to a maximum pack size of 1.5kg.

Now, named individuals must hold a certificate approved by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) – or who work for a farming business which is a member of a CRRU-approved Farm Assured Scheme. Evidence of this will be required at the point of purchase.

Paperwork

Anyone who does not possess the correct paperwork will be unable to purchase any professional-strength product, even those they might have used for years.

Instead, they will be limited to purchasing products containing less than 30ppm of anticoagulant rodenticide active substances, in maximum pack sizes of 150g for grain and paste bait formulations or 300g packs for block baits. All baits must be used in tamperproof and secure rodent bait stations.

Mr Simpson adds: “It is critical to implement effective control measures to prevent them causing loss and damage in crop and feed stores, livestock housing, silage clamps, farm workshops and other rural buildings such as stables.”

Alternatives

For many who have previously purchased significant quantities of professional-strength rodenticides, the relatively small amount of time it takes to become CRRU-certified will be the best option. But there may be effective alternatives available.

“Times have changed, but by using the right products for the target species and situation rodents can still be controlled effectively in rural situations,” says Mr Simpson. “Whatever type of product you use, the key to keeping rodents in check is to deal with them early and effectively.”

Even if only one or two rodents are visible, it is likely that many times that number will be present and they multiply at an alarming rate. For every 1kg of food they eat, rodents contaminate a further 3kg, as well as carrying microbial infections and spreading diseases.

“An experienced pest controller who check sites frequently should be able to spot the signs of even a single rodent, allowing control measures to be implemented using proven methods, correct techniques and high-quality, effective products.”

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