Date of this Version
Baldwin, R.A., N. Quinn, D.H. Davis, and R.M. Engeman. 2014. Effectiveness of rodenticides for managing invasive roof rats and native deer mice in orchards. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 21(9): 5795-5802. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2525-4.
Roof rats (Rattus rattus) and deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are occasional pests of nut and tree fruit orchards throughout California and in many other parts of the USA and beyond. In general, the most practical and cost-effective control method for rodents in many agricultural environments is the use of rodenticides (toxic baits), but little or no information exists on the efficacy of current rodenticides in controlling roof rats and deer mice in orchards. Therefore, our goals were to develop an index of rodent activity to monitor efficacy of rodenticides and to subsequently test the efficacy of three California Department of Food and Agriculture rodenticide baits (0.005 % chlorophacinone treated oats, 0.005 % diphacinone treated oats, and 0.005 % diphacinone wax block) to determine their utility for controlling roof rats and deer mice in agricultural orchards. We determined that a general index using the number of roof rat photos taken at a minimum of a 5-min interval was strongly correlated to the minimum number known estimate of roof rats; this approach was used to monitor roof rat and deer mouse populations pre- and post-treatment. Of the baits tested, the 0.005 % diphacinone treated oats was most effective for both species; 0.005 % chlorophacinone grain was completely ineffective against roof rats. Our use of elevated bait stations proved effective at providing bait to target species and should substantially limit access to rodenticides by many non-target species.