INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT OF RODENTS
Integrated pest management (IPM) of rodents should follow ectoparasite control
by 1 to 3 days. Integrated pest management incorporates cultural, mechanical,
physical, regulatory, and chemical control measures, which are generally implemented
concurrently. The following paragraphs refer mainly to the control of domestic rats and
Cultural control, which is the most effective means of controlling rodents, focuses
on environmental sanitation. This simply means to change the rodent's physical
environment to the point where it will no longer support him. The rodent's physical
environment consists of three main parts: food and water, harborage, and climate.
Eliminate or limit the rodent's access to any one of these three and the rodent
population will decrease.
a. Sanitation. Rat infestations usually can be traced to unsanitary conditions,
consisting chiefly of inadequate food and refuse storage and poor refuse collection and
disposal practices. Good general sanitation as a rat control measure includes:
primarily, the inauguration and continuation of debris and rubbish cleanup; adequate
garbage and refuse storage, collection, and disposal; the elimination of food scraps; the
proper stacking of food supplies; and the elimination of water sources. Such practices
strike directly at the rat by reducing his available food and harborage.
b. Landfill Operation. Landfill operations may be maintained rodent free, only
if the refuse and garbage are well managed and entirely covered with compacted earth
at the close of each day's operation. Otherwise, they become focal points of rodent
infestation. Where there is a history of rats, the compacted earth cover should be 12
inches thick at the end of each operating day. Where rats have not been a problem,
thickness may be reduced to 6 to 12 inches. Improper landfill operations also create
problems with other pests to include flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and snakes. The
rodents' ability to dig and make burrows up to 3-4 feet in depth makes management of
rodents imperative. The use of poisons is often necessary; however, live trapping and
checking the rodent population for ectoparasites and disease should occur first. The
location of landfill sites is also important. When located near waterways, the rodents
will often burrow into the banks and thus create another problem.
c. Combat Operations. The destruction caused by combat favors rat
infestations. In consolidating a new position, the burial of bodies, the rapid disposal of
spoiled and damaged food supplies, and other sanitary practices will assist in
preventing gross increases in the rat population.