Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Waging war on ’rats from hell’ - an alternative means

27.07.2004


Rats are unwelcome visitors, and for most people getting rid of them means putting down poison, such as anticoagulant compounds based on warfarin.



Recent estimates suggest that rat populations are on the increase, and continued reliance on rodenticides as the only means of controlling rats may be building big problems for the future. The use of warfarin and similar poisons can present problems of its own, killing other wildlife and domestic pets and leading to ‘hotspots’ of super-rats that are out of control because they have evolved resistance to most or all of the poisons that can legally be used outdoors. These resistant super-rats are featured in the ITV1 programme, Filthy Homes from Hell, to be broadcast on Tuesday evening, 27 July 2004.

Research at the University of Leicester in collaboration with the Central Science Laboratory in York has investigated other ways of controlling the spread of Norway rat populations on farms in the UK, by managing the environment rats like to inhabit.


PhD student Mark Lambert, working with Professor Robert Smith in the Department of Biology, has been looking at non-rodenticidal ways of controlling rats on farms, including environmental manipulation to benefit small mammals that might compete with rats for food and other resources.

On farms in North Yorkshire, field margins were surveyed to identify habitat characteristics preferred by small mammals and disliked by rats. The results suggest that subtle changes in habitat management practices such as leaving wide, grassy field margins, could favour small mammals including common shrews and bank voles, while at the same time producing a habitat that is less attractive for rats. This approach might also have other environmental benefits, creating buffer zones to absorb pesticide run-off, and better habitats for rat predators such as the barn owl.

To avoid predators, rats tend to avoid open spaces whilst on the move. Consequently, reducing cover around farm buildings led to reduced rat activity and survival and this approach compared well with the use of rodenticides in terms of both its efficiency and labour involved.

Within a short space of time rat populations were discouraged by the reduction of cover around farm buildings, and the technique is likely to be even more effective as part of a long-term strategy to produce an environment that is less suitable for rats, but does not reduce the quality of life for other animals.

From research so far, it appears that the best way of tackling the problem of Norway rats on farms will be use of a package of methods, including resource management, traps and some limited and well-targeted use of rodenticides where necessary.

The report concludes that less emphasis on rodenticides can only be good news, with long-term benefits including reduced risks to other wildlife and less chance of resistance to poisons among the rat population.

Mark Lambert said: “The results of this study are particularly encouraging as they show just how much can be done without the use of rodenticides. Certainly, rodenticides will continue to be an important part of rodent control, but it should always be remembered that prevention is better than cure. An integrated approach that considers the habitat and uses alternative methods where possible and practical is the only way to ensure that we stay one step ahead of the rats”.

Professor Smith added: “Resistance to rodenticides has again emerged as a problem in some parts of England. Rodenticide manufacturers have not come up with any new compounds and government departments seem to have other priorities. Mark’s research has shown that good housekeeping by farmers pays dividends in keeping rats down, which is good for both the farmer and consumers of food produced by British farmers.”

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>