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The well-known rodent scientist Dr. Bobby Corrigan has found time and again that hygiene is pest control. You could replace the previous sentence with exclusion, habitat modification or monitoring and you would still be on point describing what is in an integrated pest management approach (IPM) to rodent management.

A successful rodent IPM program employs several tools, all of which point towards the same goal: preventing a rodent infestation in the first place, or getting rid of an infestation quickly and ensuring it doesn’t recur.

Why IPM for Rodent Control?

IPM uses information about rodents, including biology, behavior, etc., and the environment they treat, to identify control methods that are most effective but leave a minimal ecological footprint. IPM methods include pest monitoring, prevention, exclusion and non-chemical tools first.

At IPM you start with the question: “Why is this mouse or rat here?” and try to eliminate the conditions that allow him to enter and live in a house or business. An IPM approach solves rodent problems rather than just treating the symptoms.

Benefits of IPM rodent control

Janet Hurley, ACE, MPA, extension program specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas, said 75 percent of rodent management is based on IPM.

“Exclusion, habitat change, hygiene – they’re all part of IPM,” said Hurley. “IPM uses control instruments that are based on the specific situation of a private or business account.”

In the initial assessment of the situation, pest control professionals need to assess the severity of the infestation, understand the specific needs / requirements of the customer (this is especially important in the food processing, health and pharmaceutical industries), and identify the conducive conditions that contributed to the rodent infestation primarily there.

“PMPs need to take a holistic view of the situation and determine where to start and what tools to use,” said Hurley. “Is monitoring necessary? Is there an exclusion or hygiene problem or is the rodent pressure so strong that it warrants a bait and trapping program to achieve rapid rainfall? “

What are some of the benefits of an IPM program for rodents?

• More likely to lead to long-term control and prevention of future infestation.

• Lower risk to non-target animals.

• It is more cost effective in the long run.

• Has more options to tailor the program to the specific needs of households or businesses.

IPM is education

Richard Monastero, owner of Amtech Personalized Pest Management in Brookfield, Connecticut, said his company is investing additional time educating customers about the details of an IPM approach to rodent control.

Clients are provided with a copy of the technician’s records and an explanation of what is being done, the role they play in the success of the program, and the “carrying capacity” of their home or business in attracting rodents.

“We give them the rodent viability of their home or business, explaining that if they take care of any item on the list of conditions that can attract rodents, it will stress the population and result in a faster and more permanent resolution of the problem . “

Rodents look for easily accessible sources of food, water, and shelter, so it is important to keep access to these items off.

In residential environments that may include:

• Clean up crumbs and spills, and store food (including pet food) above the floor and in sealed, hard containers with tightly fitting lids.

• Repair leaky faucets and leaking pipes.

• Keep living areas clean and tidy.

• Maintain yards and vacant lots by mowing and regular garbage collection.

• Share information with neighbors. Mice don’t stay in one place.

In commercial areas this includes:

• Create consistent cleaning and hygiene protocols.

• Resolve any maintenance issues (missing door leaves, missing screens, etc.) that allow rodents to gain access.

• Plan to inspect incoming shipments for rodent detection.

• Train your staff on how to recognize signs of rodent activity and what to do to prevent it.