By Ryan Sawyer
It is the responsibility of the Pest Management Professional (PMP) to work in partnership with each of its clients to develop and implement an effective rodent control program that will provide fast effective control when required and to reduce or prevent reoccurrences from happening. There are two species of rodents which cause most concerns in Ontario: Norway Rats and House Mice. In addition to these two species Deer Mice, Roof Rats, Shrews and Voles can cause problems in residential and commercial properties.
Properly implemented rodent control programs protect residential properties and commercial establishments and the individuals living and working in these types of facilities from illness, mental distress, economic loss and damage caused by rodents. Effective monitoring, inspection and treatment programs must be completed on a regularly scheduled basis. Such programs comprise client education, recommend sanitation improvements, structural modifications and exclusion services when required, and utilize mechanical controls and, when warranted, chemical controls to achieve a rodent free environment. The combined use of these tactics and control measures is often referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
The effectiveness of a rodent control program will often depend on “good housekeeping” and the reduction of food and harborage. Spilt food product, heavy vegetation growth and debris accumulations within and on the exterior of a property will require removal. In addition to removing food and harborage the implementation of proper food storage and rotation practices will be required. Reducing food availability and harborage will cause stress to the population, limit population growth, and eliminate hiding and nesting areas in addition to allowing the PMP complete a more effective site inspection and service program.
Building rodents out of a structure also known as (“exclusion”) is one the best way to prevent or reduce new entries from occurring. There is still some risk of entries occurring from the importation of goods into the structure; however, this risk can be mitigated through the inspection of incoming goods and materials and a properly implemented service program. When completing a rodent exclusion program all gaps and cracks greater then .6cm or 1/4′” must be sealed to prevent rats and mice from gaining entry. Copper mesh, course steel wool, tight-fitting weather strips, concrete, sheet metal, hardware cloth and caulking are materials that can be used to prevent rodents from gaining entry into a structure. Exclusion services are offered by many PMP’s as an additional service.
Monitoring and treatment programs to control existing infestation or to allow for the preventative maintenance of a property must incorporate the following: thorough site inspections; proper device selection, placement, and service; documentation of each service provided with recommendations when required; documentation of findings thus allowing for future trending documentation.
Interior and exterior site inspections identify sanitation and structural conditions that are conducive to infestation and current activity that may be present. Properly completed inspections are not limited to just inspecting the ground or perimeter but look at the entire building and grounds.
Monitoring and treatment programs for the control of rodents utilize different products and materials depending on the species requiring control. In most cases a combination of products and materials are selected and strategically placed to provide maximum results. The materials selected for use will depend on the type of property requiring control and the product being sold or produced. Generally, for the control of rodents, a combination of mechanical traps, glue boards, and interior and exterior tamper-resistant bait stations will be selected for the control of and prevention of activity. Ultrasonic devices have been recommended for the control and prevention of rodents; unfortunately, there are limitations to these types of control devices making them impractical for use in most circumstances.
The level of documentation required will vary depending on account type and the individual site needs. At a minimum, the service documentation must include the findings of the inspection, the materials used and type of service provided the name of service provider, and date of service. For accounts producing food material or exporting goods, documentation may include programs identifying contractual requirements of the site and service provider, site maps containing all device placements, approved MSDS and product labels, device capture and trending history, materials used, license and insurance verification, site communication and audit history etc.
In conclusion, an effectively implemented service program is a partnership between a PMP and a property owner. It is the responsibility of the PPM to educate the client and to select the safest and most effective materials that are available to insure a rodent free environment is maintained. It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sanitation and structural improvements when required to reduce site risk and to ask questions when additional information is required.
Did You Know?
Norway Rats have 4-7 litters of 8-12 young per year and are capable of reproduction at 2-3 months of age.
House Mice have approximately 8 litters of 4-7 young per year and are capable of reproducing in at 1.5-2 months of age.