Expert Advice in Rodent Control:
What are the main things that farmers can do to negate the chance of rat infestations?
Checking for rodent activity, rats and mice, all year round is key to keeping the risk of infestations low. Carry out a brief inspection every week to check for signs of activity. Look out for rat burrows under buildings, loop smears on beams or rafters, rat holes in dirt banks, damaged doors, holes or entry points, runs on the ground between potential feeding areas, droppings in ventilation ducts and next to food, equipment stores, and other areas around the farm.
If you need help identifying signs of rodent infestation, for rats and mice, here are a few:
- Sounds - like squeaking, gnawing and climbing around in walls & in the roof
- Droppings - the small, dark brown droppings can be found along walls and in/near food supplies (feed sacks, feed bins etc.)
- Gnaw marks - small chew marks can be found on all sorts of materials from wood to cardboard. Make sure to check around bins! You might also find softer materials which have been chewed to use as bedding material - this could be blue paper towels, straw or fabric.
- Strange odours - rodents tend to give out a musky odour which gets worse as the infestation gets worse. There might also be a strong smell of rot if a rodent dies.
- Smudge marks - these greasy marks can be found on pipes, on rafters or in tight spaces where the rodents' dirty coats leave a film
- Visual sighting - it is quite common to see mice during the daytime but you will only see rats during the day if the rat population is very high. You might have to search at night-time to see the rats.
Keep the farm clean and tidy, that means debris and rubbish removed, no water sources unattended, feed spills remove and feed bins proofed. Secure buildings with correct proofing (see below for more tips on this).
What is the latest information/advice on rodenticide resistance for rats and mice?
Check resistance maps for the latest information on hotspots.
If resistance is a concern, use effective rodenticides such as Lodi’s Gems Sapphire and Harmonix® Rodent Paste which have no resistance.
As a new edition to Lodi’s Gems range, Harmonix® Rodent Paste is a highly effective ready-to-use non-anticoagulant rodenticide for the control of rodents. It provides farmers with an innovative and flexible solution to rodent problems which untreated can lead to disease, property damage, fire risk, and costly repairs.
What advice do you have on proofing buildings for rats and mice?
Here are a number of different ways that you can protect your farm from rodents (rats and mice).
- Secure all the feed that you can into bins or silos. This will limit how much of the feed that the rodents can get access to. Often feed stores have a gap between the corrugated steel wall and inner concrete wall which rodents can easily enter. Unprotected livestock feed can easily become contaminated by rodent waste if there are rodents present on the farm. It's a great, easy source of food for rodents over the cold winter months when they tend to come onto farms to find food and shelter. One mouse can eat over 2kg of feed and contaminate another 40kg in a year while rats can eat almost 6kg of feed in a year.
- Rodentproof your buildings by sealing up any gaps that rodents could fit through with caulk, concrete or metal. To proof areas, use wire mesh and fill any holes on the ground, protect cabling with an anti-rodent spray and physical barriers such as metal baffles and casings, and sure up drainage pipes.
- Make sure you keep your farm as clean as possible - rodents search for places to find shelter and hide.
- Remove any potential water sources, and protect ones you need on farm.
What training do Lodi UK offer to farmers for rodent control?
Dave Reece introduces Lodi’s Gems Harmonix® Rodent Paste with Ken Black in a comprehensive video guide series looking at best practices in rodent control on farm.
The new videos accompany a full technical guide PDF which will be available online from September.
For any further queries please contact the Lodi UK team.