The use of physical control techniques

It is essential that consideration is given to the use of physical control techniques when undertaking any rodent control programme. In many countries it is recommended that physical control options are considered for control prior to the use of the chemical control options, which are seen as presenting a potentially higher environmental risk.

Physical control techniques (kill trapping, live trapping, sticky boards, ultrasound, electromagnetic fields, shooting, etc.) are not usually as efficient or as cost effective as the rodenticides, particularly the anticoagulants. In addition, there are issues of humaneness with the trapping techniques (kill and live capture traps and sticky glue boards), as well as labour costs associated with high visit frequencies. However, the perceived environmental risks associated with the rodenticides as well as potential customer concerns, particularly in the food industry, with possible product contamination with rodenticides, means that the option for the use of physical control should be considered in any integrated programme.

The development of anticoagulant resistance in both Norway rats, ship rats and house mice increases the likelihood that physical control options may form a part of the control programme.

In most situations where there are no exceptional circumstances however, physical control will not form a very significant part of the core control programme, in particular when serious infestations have to be treated. For new technologies on remote control techniques dealing with low numbers of rodents. (see also Survey)