Rodent topics to the fore in PestEx 2013 seminars

LinkedIn +

There was a diverse and educational series of seminars held during PestEx, but with rodents accounting for a large proportion of a professional pest controllers activities it was understandable this pest featured in several of the seminars.

David Oldbury, representing the CIEH National Pest Advisory Panel (NPAP), raised the curtain on rodent related seminars by outlining the objectives of revising the National Sewer Baiting Protocol.

Whilst there was nothing ground breaking on this subject, David identified the importance of continuity, stressing that ‘hotspots’ of activity should be identified and then followed through, checking adjacent chambers for rat activity and linking this with reported activity on the surface. He emphasised the need to use second-generation products and to time the follow up visits correctly – a foretaste of how we will all have to use these products in the future? The consultation remains open for comment until 30 April 2013. Any comments to npap@cieh.org.uk.

From sewers to mice
Professor Gai Murphy of the University of Salford supported by Mike Fowler of Manchester City Council on bait station efficiency (the study related entirely to mice). In its juxtaposition to other presentations pressing the need for risk mitigation when using rodenticides, Gai’s work proved provocative by demonstrating clearly what regulators would rather not hear, that open trays and cardboard tubes containing loose grain, are far more attractive to mice than are tamper resistant plastic boxes baited with wax blocks. This finding was echoed by long-serving pest technicians in the audience. The session was summed up with a plea that the results of this, and similar work, be considered very carefully by regulators, before making the use of tamper resistant bait boxes mandatory.

SGARs – what of the future?
Understandably, in view of the question mark still hanging over the role that second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) will play in the future of rodent control, the session addressing this topic and presented by Paul Butt of Natural England attracted a large audience.

Until some decisions emanate from last autumn’s consultation on the use of SGARs, Paul observed that his presentation would inevitably be speculative. He described the sequence of events that led us to where we are and emphasised that, whether the industry likes it or not, the European Commission classifies SGARs as ‘persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic’. He then went on to review the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) preferred option and its implications for pest controllers, should this option be adopted.

Read the Stakeholder Engagement responses filed by the industry.

Noting that pest controllers have been taught for years that effective control measures should take account of where rodents are living, feeding and travelling, he expressed concern that restricting the application of control measures to within five metres of a building, was something of a contradiction. Nonetheless he went on to emphasise that many other aspects of the proposals were not new and some had been trailed for more than a decade.

The next step will be a seminar on 23 April during which submitted comments to the consultation will be discussed and reviewed. Another step closer to new rules embracing risk mitigation.

Interstingly, the BASF/Pest National UK Pest Management Survey – see seminar report – also addressed the topic of Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs). It discovered that if pest controllers were allowed to use the more potent, single feed SGARs around, as well as inside buildings, a whopping 91% identified two or more additional precautions that they would take to safeguard non-target species. Even more encouragingly, over half identified four or more extra precautions. Importantly this was an open question with no alternatives provided to prompt replies. More than 600 specific precautions were listed by respondents.

This desire to provide additional protection for non-target species is highly consistent across all sectors and underlines an across-the-board sense of responsibility on this sensitive issue.

Dave Olbury
Dave Olbury stressed the importance of
‘hotspots’

Mike Fowler & Gai Murphy
Mike Fowler and Prof Gai Murphy suggest
setting the clocks 
back for mouse control

Paul Butt
Although somewhat speculative, Paul Butt
outlined what the 
future is likely to hold for
second-generation anticoagulants

Richard Moseley
Spent rodent bait becomes
a hot topic, as explained
by Richard Moseley

Waste – a sting in the tail
The final session of the day was presented by Richard Moseley, BPCA’s technical manager. He delivered a sting in the programme’s tail, by telling us that the Environment Agency has announced that ‘spent rodenticide’ should be classified as ‘hazardous waste’. This leads to the requirement that removal from site to disposal needs to be traceable and documented by a series of consignment notes. Richard emphasised – not one consignment note, but one for each leg of transit – from site to vehicle, from vehicle to base and from base to waste disposal contractor. He observed that each leg would involve administration, record keeping and fees. Richard emphasised that options are being reviewed and this is the beginning rather than the end of the story!

Share this story:

About Author