Control of rodent infestations

Project Leader: Prof Linton Staples, Animal Control Technologies Australia

Aim: To improve methods for monitoring and control of mice and rats

Project: 3.t.2

Project summary

The Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA) group is responsible for a key rodent research program within the IA CRC. In collaboration with Dr Luke Leung and his rodent team at the University of Queensland (Gatton) campus, they are seeking to improve methods for monitoring and control of mice and rats.

A second priority is to improve the management of rodents in intensive crops and for environmental management on islands. The replacement of large-scale misapplication of certain anticoagulant rodenticides is of great significance in protecting Australia’s native wildlife. The prevention of overwhelming infestations of rats and mice is also important in protecting fragile habitat and seed banks.

This works builds on ACTA’s previous success in managing rats in sugar cane crops and tree plantations in far north Queensland, and the control of plague mice in broadacre crops throughout Australia with MouseOff® and RattOff®.

The project aims to:

  • review all objective rodent monitoring systems against target situations
  • survey industry stakeholders (difficulties with rodents, research priorities, suitable trial and test sites)
  • source appropriate formulations and presentations of key active ingredients having regard to suitability, safety, regulatory framework, cost availability and humaneness (if appropriate)
  • apply selected rodenticides to intensive crop, industrial and island situations
  • obtain regulatory data that will support ACTA registration applications for technology specific to certain rodent infestation problems
  • develop advisory information to enable improved rodent management in industrial situations, intensive crops and on islands

With the possible exception of the development of paste or drink formulations, this project does not require development of new technology.

It is anticipated that most data from the project will be published or released in technical reports to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and sponsoring industry groups.

Key achievements

  • Efficacy of rodenticide formulations for rodent control demonstrated in a variety of situations where no registered chemical control methods are currently available, or where improved techniques are required. This includes tree plantation and brassica cropping systems.
  • Results to date have been published in scientific journals and four relevant national and international conferences.

Project team

Prof Linton Staples, Michelle Smith, Marion Atyeo, Dario Rivera (ACTA), Dr Luke Leung (UQ).

Project partners

IA CRC, Animal Control Technologies, University of Queensland.

Further information

Cruz J, Leung LKP, Lisle A, Rivera DF, Staples L and Smith M (2008) Grain, pellet and wax block bait take by the house mouse (Mus musculus, Linnaeus 1758) and non-target species: implications for mouse eradications on coral cay islands in the Great Barrier Reef. Journal of Integrative Zoology, 3:227-234.

Leung LKP, Seth S, Starr CR, El S, Russell IW, King CA, Vong TR, and Chan P (2007) Selecting bait base to increase uptake of zinc phosphide and warfarin rodenticide baits. Crop Protection 26:1281-1286.

Rivera DF, Smith M, Staples L and Leung LKP (2008) Effect of zinc phosphide baiting on canefield rat populations in teak. Crop Protection 27:877–881.

Internal documents to support registration

The efficacy of RattOff® sachets to control Canefield Rat Rattus sordidus populations in a teak plantation (November 2006).

Efficacy Testing of Rodenticide Formulations – cage and pen trial evaluations of rodenticide formulations (February 2007).

Efficacy of the MouseOff® Bromadiolone (0.005%) blocks compared to reference products (November 2007).

Efficacy of the MouseOff® Difenacoum (0.005%) blocks compared to reference products (November 2007).

Application of RattOff® to control Rattus rattus in intensive livestock situations – piggeries (November 2007).

Closed-population enclosure trials to assess the efficacy of MouseOff® zinc phosphide bait in intensive crops (December 2007).

The efficacy of RattOff® sachets to control Canefield Rat Rattus sordidus populations in banana plantations (July 2008).