Non-Chemical, Non-toxic Pest Control
We are now able to offer non-chemical, non-toxic methods of pest control against squirrels, rats and to a lesser extent house mice, subject to satisfactory site survey. We operate in Preston, Bolton, Chorley, Manchester, Urmston, Altrincham, Sale, Trafford Borough, Stretford, Warrington, Wigan, Knowsley, Wirral, Runcorn, Frodsham, Salford, Widnes, Sefton, Liverpool, Southport, Knutsford, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, St Helens.
New types of Rat, Mice and Squirrel traps, only recently approved and on the market, have made it much easier for pest controllers to carry out efficient non-toxic pest control treatments at a reasonable cost to the customer, subject to the suitability of the site.
For many years the mainstay method of rodent control in the pest control industry has been the use of anticoagulant rodenticides used both proactively and reactively, to cure an existing infestation and to prevent future infestations.
Used properly anticoagulants are still one of the most effective methods of rat and mouse control but they are not without issues and these issues are beginning to be addressed in recent changes in the law and codes of conduct.
Until recently professional strength rodenticides were freely available to the general public in hardware stores, cornmills and online to persons without any formal training in their use whatsoever, and this has undoubtedly lead to contamination of non-target species, especially birds of prey and also in some areas, to resistance in the rodent population to the active ingredient, making traditional anticoagulants ineffective against populations of rats in some places.
The bodies of birds of prey have also been found to contain increasingly large amounts of anticoagulant and this may be accounted for three ways
- Deliberate misuse of poison, persons intending to poison rapters (birds of prey)
- Unintentional misuse, persons using rodenticides incorrectly.
- Correct use of rodenticides.
For many years it has been common practise to place outdoor bait stations around the perimeters of premises to intercept rats, and for these bait stations to be permanently baited all year round with rodenticides.
This has undoubtedly lead to some contamination of the food chain for raptors, although intended for rats it is common for smaller prey species, field mice, shrews and voles etc to enter these bait stations and consume the poison. If these are then subsequently taken by birds of prey they are then at risk of secondary poisoning. This is especially the case in rural area or on farms where untrained persons may be using large amounts of rodenticide to control rat infestations.
Recent changes in the law have attempted to address this issue.
Firstly it is no longer permissible for untrained persons to purchase or use professional strength rodenticides. Amateur use rodenticides are still available over the counter but with only around 50% of the active ingredient of the professional use product and in much smaller pack sizes.
Secondly any person buying or using professional strength rodenticides must demonstrate that they have been trained and are competent in their usage. In reality this means possessing an acceptable Certificate Of Competence of which several types are available.
Thirdly it is no longer allowed to use permanent outdoor bait stations unless there is a pressing and provable reason to do so. When no infestation is present rodenticide in outdoor bait stations must be replaced with non-toxic baits and rodenticide used only when infestation is detected and for a maximum of 35 days only.
In domestic dwellings the risk of rodenticide harming non-target species is virtually non-existent however there can still be issues with their use.
Any risk to pets and children in a domestic situation will be negated by any professional pest controller by placing the poison in tamper-proof bait stations and out of the way of pets or children.
The main issue with using rodenticide indoors is that rats do not always die in accessible places and a decaying rat can produce a stench that only those who have experienced it will know, often followed a few days later by a biblical plague of flies.
Used correctly rodenticides are still the mainstay of the industry but the use of non-toxic methods is now becoming more common and practical than ever before.
What are non-toxic methods?
- Use of traps both lethal and non-lethal
- Sticky or glue boards
- Physically excluding rodents from the premises.
In the past the use of traps has been the primary method of non-toxic rodent control. Their drawback for pest control professionals is one of cost.
When rodenticide is placed it is usual for a pest controller to follow up within a few days of the initial treatment and then maybe weekly thereafter, however when traps are placed then they must be inspected regularly, at least daily in the case of live catch traps thus vastly increasing the cost to the customer. A squirrel trapping job can rapidly run up a four figure bill as it requires the pest controller to be on hand seven days per week for several weeks and possibly make several visits a day if the squirrels are being rapidly trapped.
Shooting is rarely an option in a built-up area and sticky or glue boards are only to be used when all else has shown to have failed and again must be inspected on a daily basis.
Excluding rodents can be an option to prevent infestation but not to cure one and can be difficult and expensive.
Therefore the cost has been the major reason for the unpopularity of non-toxic rodent control.
Now however, we have a new non-toxic trap which can vastly reduce the number of visits a pest controller needs to make and hence also reduce the cost.
These traps are self-setting, when a target enters the trap it is instantly killed and then the trap resets itself automatically without intervention from the pest controller. The body falls to the ground below the trap clearing the way for the next target. If used outdoors these corpses will often be safely predated by foxes or birds of prey which is beneficial to the food chain as they haven’t been poisoned and for the same reason if they are not predated it is permissible to put them in domestic refuse as they contain no rodenticide.
The traps contain a lure specific to the target species and also feature a counter so that if a corpse is taken by a fox before you see it, the trap will alert you to the fact that it has been triggered.
The traps require no electrical power source at all and have no electrical parts.
These traps are especially suited to squirrels and rats, both indoors and outdoors and to a lesser extent mice indoors.
Use of non-chemical, non-toxic traps against Squirrels
These non-toxic traps are especially suited to the eradication of grey squirrels. Formerly the only realistic option to a squirrel problem in a domestic environment was to carry out a live trapping by placing cage traps where the squirrels were running. This required the pest controller to check the traps daily and also attend whenever a squirrel was caught in order to despatch it.
The traps can be screwed to a tree or fence post, baited with the appropriate lure and left to their own devices requiring the pest controller to attend only once per week to recharge them, thus drastically reducing the cost to the customer.
Please note that it is illegal to use these traps in areas where there are red squirrels but there is only one small area in our area of operation that has reds so this is unlikely to be a problem for our customers.
The traps do not allow entry by non-target species, cats, hedgehogs etc as the aperture is too small.
On entering the trap the squirrel is humanely killed and drops to the floor below from where they can be left for predators or thrown into the domestic refuse bin.
The trap then resets itself by means of a pressurised gas canister and it is ready for the next target.
If the squirrel corpse is taken by predators a counter on the trap still alerts the pest controller that a squirrel has been taken.
In most cases a typical squirrel issue can be cleared in 4 – 6 visits by the pest controller as opposed to 15 – 30 using traditional cage traps, at vast reduction in cost to the customer.
The traps are especially suitable for private woodlands for controlling grey squirrel numbers and can be left permanently in place, requiring only a monthly visit by the pest controller to replenish the gas and lure.
Use of non-chemical, non-toxic traps against Rats
The traps are also suitable for use against rats both indoors and outdoors although in the case of indoor use then clearly the corpses will not be removed by predators and will require the customer to check them on a daily basis to manually remove and corpses and dispose of them.
They are also suitable for permanent placement on secure sites as an alternative to outside bait stations. They require a monthly visit from a pest controller to recharge the gas and replenish the lure.
Again it will be the responsibility of the customer to remove any corpses if not removed by predators.
Use of non-chemical, non-toxic traps against Mice
The non-toxic traps are effective against mice but may be less appropriate due to the numbers of traps that may be needed. However a small mouse infestation can certainly be resolved if a non-toxic method is deemed desirable by the customer. House mice rarely venture outdoors so the risk to the food chain of predators from the use of poisons is negligible, therefore rodenticide would always be our first choice where larger populations of house mice are concerned.
Non-toxic methods of rodent control are now available and within the reach of the average pocket.