PCOC - Summer 2015 - (Page 14)
By Bobby Corrigan, Ph.D., Urban Rodentologist, RMC Pest Management Consulting
As every California pest professional knows, exterior rodent bait stations play an important role in
helping to monitor, control or prevent the commensal rodents
(house mice, Norway rats and Roof rats) from invading our client's homes and buildings.
But how do you know if you are getting the most from your exterior rodent
bait stations? This article addresses tips
and techniques for helping you to achieve
maximum effectiveness from your bait station installments.
Rodent and Bait Station Behavior
Before discussing on-the-job tips and
techniques for installing bait stations, a
few comments are worth noting about how
rodents typically behave when they encounter a bait station.
In recent years, scientists have studied
rodent behavior when they encounter new
objects (i.e., a new bait station) that suddenly appear within their home ranges.
Installing bait stations around the exteriors of
commercial facilities should first be planned out
according to the results of a good inspection.
Simply installing stations according to some
yardstick spacing scheme does not match to the
science of rodent pest management.
The behavior can be complex and varying,
requiring days and even weeks for a rodent
to enter. But it may also be as simple as the
rodent entering a brand new bait stations
during its first encounter without any hesitation. A shyness towards new stations and
objects tend to be particularly strong with
the adult females (i.e., breeders).
Rodent odors of individual rodents and
that of the local colony members deposited
on or around a bait station can also affect
how rodents may behave around the station.
Rodent odors often contain pheromones and
these can dramatically affect a rodent's reaction to a your stations (same is true for their
responses to various traps). In studies with
rats on farms, those bait stations installed at
areas that contained high amounts of urine,
droppings and body sebum received the
highest number of visits. What's more, the
social interactions among the rats affected
which specific stations the rats visited, and
which rats within the colony were permitted
to feed in the stations.
In addition to rodent exploratory behavior,
rodent feeding behavior around new objects
is also important. In general, the commensal
rodents prefer to feed at sites within or close
www.pcoc.org / Summer 2015
to cover. If food is discovered in open and
exposed areas, rodents commonly drag the
food to some type of cover. In severe infestations, rats will feed in groups of a dozen
or more at the same spot. When a large bait
station is installed in the right spot, several
members of a family will often feed inside
the one station.
OTJ Bait Station Tips
The following are eight of my favorite
techniques that have proven successful
repeatedly for me over the years. I can't
promise that they will entice every rodent
of a colony to enter your bait stations quickly.
But, one thing is for sure: just putting out
a bait station in any old spot along a wall,
simply because "rodents follow walls" (see
photo) has a low chance of enticing the more
cautious rodents (often the breeders) that
exist within nearly every infestation.
1. Study, like a detective, each and every
infestation before you install a bait station is important. Try to answer two
important questions: 1) Where are the
rodent's food and water sources? And,
2) where are the suspected rodent harborages? During your analysis, consider the
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PCOC - Summer 2015
Best Practices for Exterior Bait Stations
What Do PMPs Want from Suppliers?
Insurance Stop the Madness!
State Capitol Report Legislature Outlook: Loud and Busy
Firm Profile Green Dog Pest Service
Index to Advertisers
PCOC - Summer 2015