Why pest control is vital on the farm

With thanks to Alex Mars and published with permission

Rats in New Zealand are introduced pests, and not only do they threaten the long-term survival of native species, they are also the cause of a huge amount of damage and income loss in the agricultural sector.

Uncontrolled rats, mice and other rodents in milk sheds, poultry businesses and orchards (they love avocados) can cause significant damage to a farming business. They feast on the food meant for the farm animals and more alarmingly, they can cause electrical problems as rodents are known to gnaw though wiring. No less than 25% percent of the barn fires are caused by rats or mice.

Furthermore, rats and mice cause stress to farm animals and transmit diseases such as avian influenza, salmonella infections, and leptospirosis. Pest control is crucial for agricultural businesses to reduce costs, prevent fires and eliminate diseases.

There is plenty you can do yourself to reduce risk and minimise the problem, more information on that below, but if you have a rat or mice infestation that’s getting out of control, give First Klaas Pest Solutions a call today to discuss a plan that’s right for your business.

Pest control is especially important for poultry farms. Free range chickens and eggs are the norm now, which is of course hugely beneficial for the wellbeing of the birds but it creates an ideal environment for rodents. In large open barns, rats and mice have easy access to a perfectly balanced source of food, full of vitamins and minerals.

The issues are often caused by how and where the food sources are being stored on the farm, as well as easy access to the spaces. However, the business owner risks much more than losing feed. A rodent problem can also cause significant damage to buildings.

How to recognize a pest problem in your business

1. Visual – You’ll notice mice or rats running away as soon as you enter the barn early in the morning. They then run along or up the walls. Even if you don’t see any pests, they could still be there.  

2. Gnawing damage – Look out for pieces of wood that have been gnawed away, and short circuit power cuts. This is a sure indication that there are mice or rats on the premises.

3. Faeces – Although mouse or rat droppings are difficult to detect on poultry farms between the amount of bird faeces, look for it near the food storage, silos and on other walkways where rodents can dwell.

4. Shelters – If you have observed a plague of rats or mice in your stable or barn, it’s important to locate the rodents’ nesting place. These can usually be found in the ground, along the facade, in crawl spaces, or with mice especially, in hollow spaces in or near food storage. You should make the nests inaccessible or, if possible, destroy them completely by clearing it.

How to keep rats and mice away from the farm

Habitat management – The best thing to do is to start with clearing out the rats’ shelter and nesting areas.  A large-scale cleaning often yields 100% result, without the need for professional pest control.

Also make sure to mow the grass, remove weeds and prune plants, as this will also contribute to solving your problem.

Minimise access – Walk around your farm with a critical eye and determine where all access routes for rats are. If you have an open stable, this will be a difficult and near-impossible task. In that case, close as many holes, cracks and openings and make access more difficult for the rats. It will leave them with just one or two options to get in. Rats and mice also make themselves comfortable around waste, old metal, and machines onsite which means a solid plan should be in place. 

Waste management – Separate edible waste from other waste that is not edible and ensure that all edible waste is immediately removed and/or stored in inaccessible waste containers. Waste containers that are kept closed prevent attracting all sorts of pests.

Traps – After performing the above actions, you can place traps to check if you are still catching rats or mice. Placing the traps in the right way and in the right place will determine the size of the problem and it will show if your previous actions have made a difference. It is still possible that there is a mouse or rat infestation even if you do not catch many in your traps.

Shooting – Once the control measures have been taken, one or two large openings in an open stable often remain accessible to rats. As this is now the only fixed route for rats to enter, a shooter can be put in position to kill a large population of rats with an air gun in just one night. After repeating this for several nights, the entire population should be eradicated.

Poison – Finally, you could consider using rodenticides/chemicals. Some rodenticides are lethal after one exposure while others require more than one dose. Legislation on the use of rodenticides is subject to increasingly strict regulations. It is therefore recommended to hire a professional pest control company such as First Klaas Pest Solutions. A professional pest control agent knows the legislation, the correct usage of the rodenticides and is trained to achieve the greatest possible result with the least use of chemicals. Our recommendation is to use poison as a last resort only.

Get in touch

If you would like professional advice for your rodent problem, please do not hesitate and contact First Klaas Pest Solutions. We are happy help you find a suitable and cost-effective solution. We can meet and objectively inspect your business premises, as with an outside perspective we can spot areas of concern that you may have missed.

Please note: Each business and each pest problem have different challenges. The approach and cost will depend on type of treatment, the level of infestation, problem areas and a few other factors. It is possible that the pest problem will be eradicated after a single treatment, but for heavy infestations we may recommend ongoing treatment and maintenance.

To find out more, please contact First Klaas Pest Solutions today.