Successfully prevent and control rodents using an integrated approach

An integrated approach to pest management can bring a number of benefits for both pest prevention and control. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) can not only improve success rates, it can also reduce the need for call backs, and even decrease the amount of rodenticide required to control an infestation.

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Richard Moseley, Envu technical manager explains the importance of understanding and implementing such an approach. 

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

“Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a phrase that can be misunderstood, so it’s important that pest controllers gain a good understanding of the practices involved before implementing an integrated approach in their daily work,” says Richard.

IPM encompasses the use of every possible tool or practice that is available to help prevent and control pest infestations. “There’s a whole programme of tasks involved, it’s not about simply putting bait down and leaving it to work.” In many cases of rodent infestation, toxic rodenticide application will not be the automatic first control step. Where a rodenticide is required, first generation products should also be considered before the application of second generation rodenticides. 

Hygiene measures to remove food source, proofing to prevent pest access and good storage practice to remove rodent harbourage should all be utilised when applying an integrated management plan, and this will require good communication between the pest controller and the customer. Another key aspect to consider in any programme is monitoring. Using non-toxic bait such as Harmonix® Monitoring Paste will provide a vital insight into where rodents are active within a site, allowing for a more targeted treatment.  

Richard shares a useful tip to remember when applying monitoring bait ahead of a rodenticide. “If you use products that are similar in type, for example non-toxic pasta, followed by a pasta form of rodenticide, the rodents should be used to feeding in the area on this type of bait formulation and will take to it quickly.”

It should not be forgotten that IPM is always evolving as technology and formulations improve, so Richard recommends that pest controllers stay up to date with the latest innovations in the industry, and use them to enhance their strategies.

How will IPM benefit pest controllers?
Pest control professional will in many cases already be implementing some form of IPM when following the latest CRRU rodenticide stewardship guidelines.

“As detailed in the CRRU code, a wide range of prevention and control measures other than anticoagulant rodenticides should be considered. By using integrated management such as proofing and trapping, applications can be more targeted and more effective, reducing the effects on non-target species and hopefully allowing us to maintain the anticoagulant rodenticides as an effective rodent control tool that pest controllers can continue to use into the future,” explains Richard.

“With a lower amount of rodenticide being applied, and lower toxicity products actively selected over stronger ones, there’s a reduced chance of secondary poisoning to non-target species, which is one of the key areas that the CRRU campaign aims to address.”

Knowledge of different rodenticide active ingredients and formulations will help technicians to understand where and when to use certain products, as well as how to best apply them within a site specific IPM programme for the greatest chance of success. 

Richard says that the selection of the right rodenticide formulation within a management programme may help to avoid issues such as behavioural resistance and the avoidance of certain products by the target rodent species. “Traps, monitors and unpalatable formulations can be avoided in some rodent infestations. The application of a contact formulation such as Racumin Foam can be incredibly effective as it is picked up by the rodent as they move through gaps and is ingested via grooming. A product such as Racumin Foam can be a useful integrated management tool as it brings a new dynamic to the treatment process that can help control rodents in complicated treatment environments. ”

“The use of management techniques such as proofing and foliage clearance, complimented with targeted control measures, will help to discourage pest damage, and allow rodent outbreaks to be controlled quickly and efficiently. Hopefully, the integrated approach should allow pest controllers to ultimately maximise the value of their contract by reduced likelihood and frequency of call outs and return visits to infestations. 

Successful implementation of IPM
One professional pest controller that already uses IPM in his daily work is Carl Porter of CPH Environmental, based in Leicestershire. 

Working mainly in large scale commercial food production sites and high specification factories, Carl uses Racumin® Paste as part of his rodenticide rotation in order to gain quick and efficient control as part of his integrated programmes. 

“In the sites that I manage, I’ve trialled several different baits, and I always find that rodents take to Racumin® Paste extremely quickly, because it’s so palatable.”

“Along with the rodenticides that I apply, I always monitor activity with non-toxic bait or a tracking dust. This gives me a good understanding of rodent activity across a site, so I know where and when to put down rodenticides in the most efficient and economic manner,” says Carl.