I have controlled
rats and other pests for 18 plus years, mainly using strong and highly toxic
chemicals. I recently decided that if it was feasible and the results
would justify it I would use a more eco-friendly or green method of
control, I call eco friendly any thing that does not use chemicals, I
know some of you old die-hards will say there is only one way and that
is to poison but let me assure you that other methods are available.
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As I said, green or eco-friendly control could be using a good
ratting terrier. I have Jenny, trapping using either live catch or
kill traps, air rifles and pistols and the relatively new product that
does not contain any chemicals and works in the opposite way to
conventional rodent control, this one thickens the blood as opposed to
All the items in red
mentioned in this article are available at the
Green Pest Control Company website.
Owen has tried each of them personally and they work.
The prices on the website are the price you pay - there is no
If you order by phone or e-mail, quote GARDENACTION and you will
I have been getting fantastic results with rat
control using the
chemical free rodent bait. This is a bait formulated from ground maize, wheat and
sweet molasses, it takes only 40-60 grams to do the deed. Normally the
rat dies in the burrow but should the rat die above ground there is no
danger to carrion feeders or your cat because no chemicals have been
used, (the product is approved by the barn owl trust) and there are no
residual toxins in the rodent body.
When using the bait it MUST be the only food source, so that means
no scatter feeding of the hens, remove the bird feeder; put the pony
nuts in a rodent proof container. When you put the hens away at night
make sure the feed hopper is on chains 18 inches off the hen house
floor, I know rats will come down the support chains but the harder we
make it the better.
When I do surveys of a property or smallholding with a
rodent problem the first thing I look for is fresh droppings, this is an
excellent indicator as to the size of the infestation, I always take
notes and recently I have started using my digital camera to record
details for my files. Rats like to feed in open ended tubes or tunnels
so if you can place bait in a tunnel all the better. I prefer to use
bait stations that have been made for the purpose, these keep the
bait dry and have open ends, but an old tube from the big bales or
even a plank against the wall will do.
It is important with this type of bait that it is kept dry, if you
want to put it in the burrow directly I wrap a hand full in cling film
and put it down the hole, ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES when working on rat
control, and disinfect any surfaces the rodent comes into contact
with, especially in kitchen, dairy, egg store/packing area etc.
Along with the above there are quite a few types of rat traps
available, I tend to use the
Monarch type rat
trap. This will trap more than
one rat at one setting, the best bait for this is something smelly,
fish head, garlic sausage, bacon or similar.
There is also a type that
is known by a few names but in the north we know it as a
family type rat
trap. This also catches more than one rat, they can enter from the
rear once the front trap door has sprung. I use this type in a small
infestation, say in a household kitchen. Once again bait with smelly
I also use a single catch trap, if you have only seen the odd rat
use this trap, as with all traps they are best used, as I said
earlier, in a false tunnel use a plank or piece of slate leant against
When controlling on a large scale there is a large
multi catch trap which will catch dozens of rodent at one setting. This is fantastic, I
use these on poultry farms, as we all know it is very difficult to
control rats where there is poultry in either a small scale few hens
to battery farm type egg producers.
Remember that rats have to be disposed off in a humane way I would
never advocate drowning, they can take hours to die, and I tend to use
an air pistol.
There is also a newish rat control weapon that will perhaps be
added to the armoury. I am trying it at the moment and it's called the
Rat Zapper. This gives
the rat a lethal shock using only AA batteries.
I am told it will despatch up to 10 rats with one set
of batteries. It looks very promising at the moment!
When you start rat control you need to take a few things into
account, rats are neophobic which means they are wary of new objects,
so have patience with your control. I get calls from people who say
they have one rat, this I find quite strange, most rats being social
creatures are in multiples.
When doing the survey do not under estimate the level of
infestation. There are always more rodents than you think.
Rats have to drink water every day as opposed to a mouse which can
get enough water from its food.
Rats can start to bred from 6 weeks of age and with a litter of up
to 12, the small infestation soon becomes am major problem. Most rats
in the wild have a life span of 6-9 months so work that out, thousands
from 1 pair in one year.
Whenever you are dealing with rats you must have high regard to
personal protection. Rats carry a multitude of diseases some fatal, so
rubber gloves must be worn at all times. Don�t use the canvas and
leather type they will hold contamination.
Always carry out pest control in a safe and responsible manner, be
humane. If using traps they must be checked every 24 hours, if you can
check them every 12 hours all the better.
Have patience these are wild animals that don�t want to be caught
or controlled. If it doesn�t work first time try another bait in the
trap or put the trap somewhere else. If using chemical free bait, make
sure there is no alternative food source.
Remember we might be voting for one of these one day unless we
control them now.