Rodent Control Methods

Did you know that Rodents are one of the most successful mammalian clades? Their ability to adapt to and thrive in a wide range of habitats, combined with their tenacious capabilities, make them born survivors. With these remarkable traits, Rodents frequently become pests that, if not monitored properly, can become a cause of headache and nuisance to any property or business. Rodent Control Methods differ based on the scenario, which is determined by the severity of the infestation, the source, etc., but the most effective long-term Rodent Control Solution is to keep the rodents out in the first place.

But, even with careful monitoring, rats and mice manage to sneak in and can cause up to $20 billion in damage to homes, businesses, and agriculture every year. Rodents carry many diseases, including leptospirosis, salmonella, and tuberculosis. Rodents damage field crops, cause post-harvest losses, and contaminate stored food and water.  If you are wondering if these pests can be controlled, the answer is yes, and very successfully so! The following methods would shed light on the different, effective rodent control methods.

Effective Rodent Control Methods

 There will always be tell-tale signs of rodent infestation, be it on a farm or any agricultural facility. For example, on a farm, rat burrows, damage to fruits and vegetables, and rat droppings are signs of an infestation. The key is not to wait for these signs to show up but to practice methods to prevent an infestation from happening.

 This may include removing the rodents’ sources of food, water, and shelter and preventing their access to plants and buildings by sealing all the entry points. As rodents have tremendous breeding potential, one or two getting in can also spell trouble. Under ideal conditions, a pair of rats and their offspring can produce 20,000,000 young in 3 years, and one female rat can produce another 22 breeding females in 1 year! You can only imagine the collective havoc that they could cause.

 Practicing good sanitation methods is crucial, as these pesky intruders can make do with food from debris and trash and water from leaking faucets. By making sure every source is removed both inside and outside the facility, we are taking an active step in making sure that our grounds are not attractive to rodents.

Physical Method of Rodent Control

Physical Rodent Control Method begins with the above process by relying on the use of pest proofing and equipment to keep rodents out. Do note that some of the physical methods of rodent control should be carried out by an experienced and qualified pest controller.  Beyond preventive methods like practicing good sanitation methods, Physical rodent control methods include the following:

  •   Use of Traps & Baits: This is the most common of all the pest control measures. There are many different types of Traps like Snap Traps, Electric Traps, Live Capture Traps, Bait Stations, and Poison Traps.
rodent snap trap

o   Snap traps operate in a way that, when triggered, a metal spring setup snaps down and kills the rodent. An electric trap would operate by giving a fatal shock. Though both traps are non-toxic, there is always the issue of constant monitoring by placing baits and resetting the trap. Also, snap traps are not quick kill and electric traps require sufficient power for a quick kill. Care should be taken to ensure proper disposal of the dead rodent. A live capture trap is more humane, although it would be completely humane only with constant monitoring, as rodents can die from starvation or dehydration.

o   Bait Stations & Poison: The poison is made in such a way that it is attractive to rodents and they are economical. Poison may kill a rodent slowly and painfully but may result in secondary poisoning. There is also this issue of the rodent dying somewhere other than where it was poisoned. This may result in contamination of food sources unless you locate the dead rodent and dispose of it in a timely manner.

  •    Ultrasonic Method of Rodent Control: Made with Military Grade Components, devices like our EcoBloc units work like an invisible fence around your facility by emitting high-frequency ultrasonic waves that repel rodents. The sound is above the range of human hearing but is extremely distressing to rodents. Our units use no chemicals, are eco-friendly, and there is no regular maintenance required. Rodents learn from previous encounters and modify their routes accordingly while using traps or baits. But our units use a proprietary algorithm to constantly change the ultrasonic sounds so that the rodents don’t get used to the sound. So, the majority of the issues that you encounter with other forms of rodent control can be solved using Eco Bloc units.

Chemical Method of Rodent Control

 The use of chemicals in controlling pests like fungus, insects, and rodents were revolutionized in the 18th and 19th century when the Industrial Revolution required much more efficient pest treatments in terms of scale, effectiveness, and speed. But even though the use of chemicals leads to serious health issues, their production and usage have only continued to scale up.

A person performing chemical rodent control

 Rodenticides are chemical pesticides that are designed specifically for the extermination of rodents such as rats and mice. Chemical pesticides are a double-edged sword; their use is efficient in the sense that it is targeted, quick, and guarantees a kill, but the costs to the environment can be high. Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are more potent than first-generation compounds and kill rodents in a single dose. However, as rodenticides start getting more lethal, so does their impact on ecology. It can result in primary poisoning where animals other than rodents consume the poison, or secondary poisoning, where animals get poisoned by consumption of poisoned rats. 

Many unintended consequences can harm the reputation of the farm or agricultural businesses too. Poisoned rodents may die in the crevices that often go unnoticed, or poisoned rodents may run into raw materials or food supplies, thus contaminating them.

 As people have started to become aware of the damaging effects of rodenticides, there have been an increasing number of pleas from communities to ban their usage, and the EPA is taking that into consideration. They have already banned rodenticides in the form of pellets.

Biological Method of Rodent Control

 Pathogens and Predatory animals are some of the agents used for the biological control of rodents. The Pathogens that have been used are of the genus Salmonella. However, none of them are rodent specific, and all can cause severe infection in humans and domestic animals. A point to note is that rodents frequently develop immunity to and become carriers of these organisms. Other forms of rodent control using biological control are through fertility control.

 There are many chemicals that reduce the fertility of rodents, some already developed for use in agriculture. Although more humane than rodenticides, improper exposure to birth control could cause harm to non-target animals of the ecosystem by reducing fertility.

 In terms of using natural predators of rodents, whatever predator is introduced will control only the population of the pest that they are meant to target, making it a green alternative to chemical or mechanical control methods. After the initial introduction of the predator species, which may cost a bit, little effort and money are required to keep the system running smoothly.

However, this method of control is fickle and slow. It requires patience, time, and effort for the biological agents to work their magic on a pest population. Also, it is impossible to destroy a pest population as predators can only survive if there is something to eat.

Cultural Method of Rodent Control

 Cultural Method of Pest Control is the oldest method used for pest population control. This method refers to the manipulation of crop production systems or cultural practices to reduce or eliminate pest populations.

 Cultural Method of Rodent Control is an important preventive measure in controlling rodents and rodent damage in agricultural ecosystems. This method involves intentional manipulation of vegetation cover in habitats adjacent to active burrows of rodents to reduce shelter and food availability for rodents. Some steps, like putting pea gravel around seedlings and regular mowing to reduce ground vegetation heights, may significantly reduce rodent activity on farms. Cultural Methods, though cheap and requiring minimal modifications to the normal production practices, require careful timing and long-term planning for greater effectiveness. The method’s effectiveness is difficult to assess and does not provide complete control of pests.                                                                                                                                                                                            

As you can there are pros and cons to every rodent control method, and the methods vary based on each scenario. Instead of just limiting your farm or facility to one rodent control method, long-term success can be achieved by using a combination of methods. This is the principle around which IPM (Integrated Pest Management) revolves. In fact, this method ensures that pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates that they are absolutely needed according to established guidelines. Rodent control methods are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms, and the environment in general.

 Ecobloc units have been successfully deployed in many client locations as a part of their IPM strategy. By including Ecobloc units as a part of your comprehensive pest control strategy, you have a safe, effective, environmentally sustainable solution in hand that will keep the rodent population in your facility in check.

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