Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection

 

Date of this Version

February 1994

Abstract

Biological control using macro- or micro-parasites is a promising research area for control of rodents. The largest impediment to progress is a dearth of high quality research, under field conditions, on wild rodents and their diseases. A major challenge is to identify a candidate control agent which is sufficiently pathogenic, has a high transmission rate and is target specific. Once this has been done, ecological studies of both the host and the disease agent, and of the epidemiology of transmission, are required. Whether the desired pathogenicity is via increased mortality and/or reduced fertility will depend on the agent and on the dynamics of the pest species in particular agricultural systems. Overall, the best prospects for the biological control of rodents lies with agents that reduce fertility rather than increase mortality. The development of immuno-contraception using a virus as a vector is proffered as the most promising generic approach for the biological control of rodent pests.