This article explains what the changes in legislation mean to you and comments on alternative methods to avoid and control rat infestations.
A change in legislation
In the past, the anticoagulant agents present in rat poison have been shown to me more harmful to humans and other wildlife, than to the rodents themselves.
What the changes really mean?
For homeowners, the concentration of the active ingredient used in rodenticides has been reduced from 0.005% to 0.003%. However, professionals will still be able to buy poison bait at the higher concentration.
In addition, the size of bait pack sizes available to amateurs will be reduced to a maximum size of 300g for block baits and 150g for wheat/pasta and pellet baits.
Anyone wanting to purchase bigger quantities will be required to obtain a certification to do so. This may be the case for smallholders and equestrian users. Follow this link for more information http://www.thinkwildlife.org/stewardship-regime/professionals/training-certification/.
It has been shown however, that the effectiveness of bait at the new chemical concentration of 0.003% is no different to the higher 0.005%. The efficacy of any rodent control is, therefore, to use top quality bait, ensure bait points are placed correctly and top them up regularly.
What can you do to reduce excessive poison in the environment?
It is now recommended that rodenticide boxes are not left out indefinitely, but instead, monitored to ensure that it is being eaten by rats and mice. That said, you need to ensure you are persistent, topping up the bait regularly, as rodents can become resistant to the poison if the complete course is not followed.
As a starting point, place boxes in the affected areas with non toxic bate inside to detect any activity. Once you have established rodents are visiting the box you can switch to poison. You should then aim to keep this up for no longer than a month, after which, you can keep an eye on reocurrances.
This approach will ensure that only rodents are affected, whilst it will reduce the exposure to poison to other species such as foxes and birds of pray.
You can discourage rodents with these simple steps:
Remove food and water sources, as well as any items than can provide shelter such as abandoned furniture, leaf piles, plant pots, etc.
Patch and seal holes inside and outside the house.
Use trays under bird feeders that can be removed in the evening.
Use rubbish bins with clip-on or tight-fitting lids.
Turn compost piles regularly.
The new legislation has been brought in to establish a consistent and sustainable method, in order to control rat and mouse infestations and we must welcome any change that will keep our environment and local wildlife safer.