Date of this Version
The disadvantages of the acute, fast-acting, rodenticides are well understood by the specialist. However, despite poison-shyness and consequent short-lived, low efficacy rodent control, many users prefer "acutes" such as zinc phosphide to "first-generation" anticoagulants of the warfarin type. The techniques necessary for efficient use of the first-generation anticoagulants are often inappropriate, particularly in agriculture. High labour and bait inputs required are unacceptable and are, together with the need for area coordinated control programs, significantly responsible for lack of widespread use of anticoagulants, even in those countries with a long history both of disastrous rodent damage to crops and rodent damage research and training centers. There are other problems, too, including widespread antithesis to prophylactic rodent control, perhaps in part due to the inherent low efficacy of acutes and the impractical nature (often leading to low efficacy) of first-generation anticoagulant baiting procedures. The advent of a highly potent but slow-acting rodenticide molecule, brodifacoum, has allowed the development of the pulsed baiting technique. This practical technique is highly effective and offers very significant savings both in bait and labour compared to first-generation anticoagulants, with excellent levels of control. Single applications are more effective than single applications of acute toxicants. Now used in agricultural and urban control programs, the technique is proving to be very cost-effective and highly acceptable, both to educated campaign organizers and uneducated users. The theory, development and cost-effectiveness of the technique are considered together with the experience gained from its use over more than 4 million hectares of agricultural land. Use of the technique allows for the first time practical and efficient agricultural rodent control.