Pest Perspectives - November/December 2015 - (Page 18)

feature Best Practices for Exterior Bait Stations By Bobby Corrigan, Ph.D., Urban Rodentologist, RMC Pest Management Consulting s every Florida 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. 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). 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. 18 November | December 2015 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 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. 2. 3. 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 4. 5. 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 following words: warmth, cover (shadows, hard-to-reach narrow pathways), quiet zones, as well as the structural elements the rodents prefer such as corners, utility lines and structural voids. Once you've studied the situation, then investigate the affected areas to pin-point the rodent's high activity areas. This can't be stressed enough. Keenly observe for droppings, belly smears, gnaw marks, hairs, obvious rodent trails and the like. In those areas in which the above signs are numerous, think of such areas as the little red balloons you see on a Google map for where to "drop" a bait station. Pre-baiting bait stations with foods familiar to the rodents in that specific area can sometimes cause rodents to overcome or reduce their cautiousness toward the newly installed bait stations. Once the presence and location of the stations become familiar to the rat colony, and they readily take to the pre-baiting food, then stations will begin to contain the "colony scent." The pre-baiting foods can then be removed and replaced with the rodent bait. When active trails are noted in vegetation or in the dirt, snow or dust, install stations directly next to (not on) the active trails. Missing a rodent colony's favorite trail by only 10 feet may mean the rodents will never visit your station. Observe for areas that provide obvious cover (low hanging |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pest Perspectives - November/December 2015

Message from FPMA Headquarters staff
Indecent Exposure: Stories of Pesticide Exposure
presidential perspective
The Advantage of Minimum Risk Pesticides
Best Practices for Exterior Bait Stations
capitol concerns
marketing matters
operational excellence
FPMA corner
advertiser index

Pest Perspectives - November/December 2015