Winds of Change Threaten to Impact Rodent Management Practices

Sep 17, 2019, 11:41 AM by John Rodden

Disease and rodents are synonymous. Mice and rats can transmit a number of bacteria and diseases that threaten commercial facilities, especially those in the food processing or service industries. Serious stuff to say the least.

In addition to transmitting harmful bacteria and diseases, rodents can spoil processed and unprocessed food, raw ingredients, cause structural damage and even cause fires by gnawing on electrical wiring.

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

The California State Assembly recently passed a bill (AB 1788) that would ban the use of second generation anti-coagulant 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.  Please note, the full scope of the exemptions for commercial facilities is not clear at this time and Clark will continue to monitor the situation.

What would the end result of the bill’s passage mean for California business owners? It could leave commercial businesses unprotected and potentially at risk. The bill would also ban the use of certain rodenticides on all state owned property and this would impact baiting programs for burrowing rodents such as gophers.

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

Why is this happening? Rodenticide products have been detected in wildlife including raptors and other birds of prey, and urban carnivores such as coyotes and mountain lions. Research is currently being conducted to determine how the animals consumed the products and it is unknown if legal or illegal use is causing the spread of these products outside the secure bait stations pest management professionals apply them in.

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 Pest Control takes pride on being a good steward of the environment and the communities we all live and work in. Our company goal is to provide our commercial clients 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 in to contact with the product has not been completed, 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 commercial properties, employees and consumers.

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 tool box full in order to protect people, property and food.

If you are looking for a pest management partner that understands your business, and can help you prepare your facility as pest pressures rise, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.