The control of rodent populations on farms and in other rural settings is essential because they spread disease, contaminate foodstuffs and cause damage to buildings. They can also become the source of infestation for nearby suburban areas.
Other reasons for needing to control rodents in rural areas are to protect game rearing, fisheries, horticulture and forestry; as well as preventing infestations in landscaped areas surrounding out-of-town sites, such as supermarkets and industrial estates.
However, research by government research institutes and agencies of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and several universities has shown that, as a result of rodent control programmes in rural areas, many species of wildlife are exposed to contamination by rodenticides, particularly by the second generation anticoagulants. These species include protected birds, particularly raptors, and mammals such as polecats, stoats and foxes.
The residues of rodenticides discovered in wildlife are usually at very low levels and there is no evidence that such exposure affects wildlife populations.
There is, however, laboratory evidence that the behaviour of rats changes when they have ingested potentially lethal doses of anticoagulants and, as a result, they may be more likely to be taken by predators, leading to an increased risk of secondary poisoning.
There is also evidence that sub-lethal dosing of anticoagulant rodenticide increases the risk of scavengers or predators succumbing to the effects of subsequent exposure.
As even the current low-level but widespread contamination of wildlife is unacceptable, action is required to reduce this exposure and with it the risks of secondary poisoning.
Apex Services is a responsible Company and adheres to all good practice in rural areas or indeed in any area where non-target wildlife may be at risk. Guidelines given to Pest Control Companies such as ourselves, from Killgerm and Natural England that following them will be evidence of good and responsible practice.
Authorised uses of rodenticides within the European Union are being currently reviewed as a result of the implementation of the Biocidal Products Regulations (528/2012).
Undertaking an environmental risk assessment is part of the responsible stewardship of rodenticides, under the ‘UK rodenticide stewardship regime’.
Further details regarding the UK rodenticide stewardship regime can be found on www.thinkwildlife.org/stewardship-regime/
The ‘CRRU UK Code of Best Practice: Best Practice and Guidance for Rodent Control and the Safe Use of Rodenticides’ must also be followed