The Key to Great Rodent IPM, presented by Dr. Bobby Corrigan

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Bug Off Pest Control Center, New York Pest Expo, Pest Management
Tags: , , , , ,

Once again, we were proud and honored to have Dr. Bobby Corrigan, RMC Consulting, speak at this year’s New York Pest Expo. Each year we learn something new from Bobby. This year he presented Understanding Rodent Behavior: The Key to Great Rodent IPM. PMPs must understand the top rodent behaviors and how to use those behaviors against them. We can use as many chemicals as allowed but unless we understand rodent behavior we may not achieve optimum control.

First, understand where the rodent likes to nest. Mice prefer warm areas in furniture and boxes near food. Rats need bigger spaces and indoors, concrete hollow block walls (CHB) can become virtual rodent condos.

The rat that lives outside prefers available earthen spaces (AES). That is, they prefer to live in and around healthy dirt. If investigating a rat problem that exists outside look for healthy plants. You will most likely come upon a rat burrow. Do you know how long one can be?: Typically, about 4-6 feet in length with up to 3 holes. This knowledge will reduce the need to treat each hole. Just 1 application per burrow should suffice.

What about rodent travel ways? They travel along linear systems: shadowy lines along walls, pipes and landscape edges, for example. Rodents mark these paths with pheromones.  When identifying potential pathways, be aware of sight, smell and kineshetics. Kinesthetics is so important because if we can determine their memorized path we can then target these areas accordingly.

Now that we understand a rodent’s preferred home and path we need to understand the distance they’ll travel. Home ranges for mice can stretch approximately 10-30 feet or more. The home range of a rat can stretch 90-450 feet! The reason there is such a wide range in distance is simply because when food is abundant the rodent will stay closer to that source. When it is scarce home ranges can increase.

Mice don’t eat a lot as compared to rats. A mouse will eat about one tenth of an ounce of food per day. Based on this knowledge a PCO should set out many placements of rodenticide in small amounts.

Rats eat 1-3 oz. of food daily. They are also particular. They look for nutritional balance. To attract a rat use a variety of foods such as sardines, peanut butter, apples, etc. Make fewer placements with larger amounts of bait. In general, try to identify “eating spots” as well. Rodents will cache food in these safe spots and mark them with pheromones.

All in all, when treating for rodents look for signs of high activity, warm spots, shadows, corners, and voids. Don’t overlook cardboard storage areas either. They present   a resort for mice. Before using bait stations or traps limit competing food sources. Otherwise, they will totally disregard such tools.  Always keep hands clean before handling baits and traps. Rodents may avoid harsh odors, especially nicotine.

Ultimately, the future of rodent control lies in pest proofing. Exclusion is the best long-term rodent control technique. If they can’t get in, they won’t be a problem. Be sure to incorporate exclusion products in your arsenal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s