Following a mild and wet winter, farmers are being advised to tackle rats in spring to avoid potential infestations this autumn. BASF pest control specialist Helen Ainsworth advises: “Rats will remain in farm buildings where food and water is plentiful. Throughout spring and summer, rats will breed in and around these buildings which could lead to infestations in autumn. Rats reach sexual maturity after four to 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 a growing area of the UK. It is therefore important that farmers look for rodenticides with actives that rodents have no resistance to. “BASF has developed a single feed active called Flocoumafen which is used in products such as Storm and Storm Ultra Secure. There is no resistance to Flocoumafen, so farmers can rest assured that it will be effective against rodents,” explains Helen.
Rats commonly look for harbourage in grain stores, silage clamps, bale and feed stores so it is crucial farmers monitor these areas and have a plan to control rats before a new crop is added. “The preparation of crop stores to prevent infestations of rats and mice is crucial. 42 million tonnes of food in the world is destroyed by rodents each year as they eat and contaminate stored produce. It is vital that rats now living in farm buildings are controlled to avoid spiralling infestation levels. Farmers should act now to protect their crops and livestock,” says Helen.
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. It is therefore important to have a product that is highly palatable to rats to ensure a lethal dose is consumed in a single feed. Storm Ultra Secure is unique because it is a wax free block that does not contain paraffin wax. This makes it more palatable to rodents which improves take and reduces the amount of time needed to achieve control,” says Helen.