Environmental management

Rodent infestations arise because the habitat and the environment provide them with the means to survive. The environment will be supplying the food and the water they need, as well as somewhere to live, shelter move around and to breed successfully.

The more the availability of these factors is limited, the lower the carrying capacity of that environment will become and the lower the level of rodent activity that it will support.

One of the objectives of the survey discussed earlier was to identify where the rodents were feeding, drinking and finding shelter, as well as the routes they were taking to exploit the environment.

An effective programme will seek firstly to identify those aspects of the environment that are critical in this regard. The programme will then also identify how and where to modify the availability of these components both to assist in control and longer term to ensure that the infestation does not re-establish after control is complete.

Identification and removal of the food and water source is perhaps an obvious step to take here. However, it is not always possible to do this, in which case limiting, as far as is practicable, the access that the rodents have to the food and water through exclusion and proofing will be necessary.

Identification and removal of the harbourage and cover used by the rodents is also an integral part of any integrated strategy.

The reduction in the carrying capacity of the environment should be seen not only as an essential part of the programme, but should also be seen as a contributing factor to the safe use of rodenticides and the reduction in environmental risk. The lower the carrying capacity, the fewer rodents there will be and the lower the levels of the required use of chemical and physical control techniques.