a. Prior to attempting rodent control, it is necessary to know the type and
appropriate degree of ectoparasite infestation. This information can best be obtained
through sample rodent trapping. The recovery of ectoparasites from trapped animals
should be carried out while animals are alive, depending on the type of ectoparasites
sought. Since most ectoparasites leave the host soon after its death, the collection
methods for these types require the use of live traps to ensure maximum recovery.
Rodents must be caught alive, in as much as they may be transported in the trap or
placed in a building cage or bag for transportation back to the laboratory.
b. Ectoparasites may be recovered from freshly killed rodents by placing the
rodent, together with a wad of cotton soaked in chloroform, in a plastic bag until the
ectoparasites are stupefied or dead. The rodent is then removed from the bag and held
by the tail over a white surface. (Gloves should always be worn when handling
rodents). A fine-toothed comb, preferably one specifically designed for that purpose,
should be used to comb the ectoparasites from the rodent. The rodent must be combed
in the opposite direction in which the hair grows (from the tail toward the head). The
entire surface of the rodent should be combed, to include inside the ear openings and
the tail. Combing should be done in a manne, which allows the combed out
ectoparasites to fall onto the white surface. The ectoparasites may be removed from
the white surface and the comb by using a small camel's hairbrush dampened with
water. The plastic bag, which was used to hold the rodent should be completely
emptied of ectoparasites by dumping, then turning it inside out, and brushing. The
ectoparasites removed from the white surface should be placed into a vial containing
70 percent alcohol for preservation and study.