The changing face of rodent management

May 17, 2019

What would you think if you saw a rodent in your home? According to a Harris Poll, nearly one in five of U.S. homeowners surveyed (17 percent) said if they were to see a rodent in their home, their biggest concern would be the spread of disease.

Disease and rodents are synonymous. Mice and rats can transmit a number of bacteria and diseases, including hantavirus, Salmonella, allergies and asthma, tularemia, plague, rat bite fever, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and leptospirosis. Serious stuff, to say the least.

In addition to transmitting harmful bacteria and diseases, rodents can spoil food, damage structures, and even cause fires by gnawing on electrical wiring.

To effectively eliminate the public health threat that rodents pose, pest management professionals need a diverse rodent control toolbox. The depth and potential effectiveness of that toolbox is now under scrutiny, and it could lead to a negative impact on California home and business owners.

The California State Assembly recently passed a bill (AB 1788) that would ban the use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (referred to as SGARs). The bill is moving to the Senate chamber for review and a possible vote. The bill would ban the use of these important products in all places except to control public health pests and in areas of agricultural activities, including food storage warehouses and processing facilities, and agricultural food production sites.

What would the end result of the bill’s passage mean for California consumers? It would leave many structures – single-family homes, apartment and condominium complexes, healthcare facilities, schools and retail outlets – unprotected and potentially at risk. The bill would also ban the use of certain rodenticides on all state-owned property and this would affect baiting programs for burrowing rodents, such as gophers.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation is also conducting a reevaluation of the science behind the rodenticides to review non-target exposure. This reevaluation may result in further usage restrictions and possibly the elimination of these products altogether.

Why is this happening? Rodenticide products have been detected in wildlife, including raptors and other birds of prey, and in urban carnivores such as coyotes and mountain lions. Research is currently being conducted to determine how the animals consumed the products, and it is not known if legal or illegal use is causing the spread of these products outside of the secure bait stations that pest management professionals use to apply them.

Clark Pest Control and the professional pest management industry have long supported the responsible use of pesticide products by highly trained, certified professionals. In the hands of a professional, these products are applied only when needed as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program that also includes exclusion, sanitation, and other cultural practices.

Clark, your neighborly termite, lawn care and pest control expert, takes pride on being a good steward of the environment and the communities in which we all live and work. Our company goal is to provide consumers with the most-advanced pest management services that leave the smallest environmental footprint.

The industry’s trade association, the Pest Control Operators of California, is working with the bill’s sponsors to adopt further amendments that would include additional enforcement and education efforts, and expand use exemptions.

Since the research on how non-target animals come into contact with the product, enforcement of current label language and regulations is vital in the preservation of this important rodent management tool.

This bill has the potential to significantly disrupt the timely delivery of vital rodent management programs that safeguard consumers’ homes and their families.

Clark Pest Control and its fellow pest management professionals will continue to work on educating consumers and legislators on the importance of keeping the rodent management toolbox full in order to protect people, property, and food.

If you have questions or concerns about rodents, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email Clark at clarkcares@clarkpest.com.

Until next time, I’m Clark, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.