Following a mild and wet winter, producers are being advised to tackle rats this spring to avoid potentially large infestations this autumn.
Rats will remain in farm buildings where food and water is plentiful, according to BASF pest control specialist Helen Ainsworth.
“Throughout spring and summer, rats will breed in and around these buildings, which could lead to substantial infestations in autumn,” she says.
“Rats reach sexual maturity after four or five weeks, meaning that a population can grow from just two rats to around 1,250 in just one year if left uncontrolled.”
Bromadiolone and difenacoum are actives used in rodenticides that rats are showing resistance to in an increasing number of areas in the UK. So producers must look for rodenticides with actives that rodents have no resistance to.
The company has developed a single-feed active, called flocoumafen, which is used in products such as Storm and Storm Ultra Secure. There’s no resistance to this, so producers can be confident that it will be effective against rodents.
Rats like to live in grain stores, silage clamps, and bale and feed stores, “So it is crucial that producers monitor these areas and have a plan to control rats before a new crop is added,” says Ms Ainsworth.
She adds that in an environment where food is plentiful, the palatability of a bait is one of the most important factors.
“The strength of the active ingredient is irrelevant if the rodent is not attracted to eat the product. So it’s important to have a product that is highly palatable to rats to ensure a lethal dose is consumed in a single feed.”