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Can Non-Target Rodenticide Exposure Be Mitigated by Changes In Management Practices?

Project Title:

Can rodenticide toxicosis be mitigated by changes in management practices? Examination of two different bait stations, their placement, visitations by small mammals and birds, and their interaction with mesoocarnivores.



Niamh Quinn, PhD, University of California, Davis, California

Paul Stapp, PhD, California State University, Fullerton, California


Project Summary:

Non-target exposure to rodenticide baits is a high-profile issue throughout the country.  Media reports, fueled by anti-pesticide interest groups, highlight sick and injured wildlife allegedly harmed by rodenticides.  Birds of prey, bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions are often singled out as especially at risk. However, the role that anticoagulant rodenticides may play in their plight is unclear.  In the past two years, two separate bills have been introduced into the California Assembly to ban rodenticides in California.  An important question remains: “How are non-target animals being exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides?”  Are small, non-target animals entering bait stations? Are commensal rodents being eaten by predators like coyotes and bobcats?  Are non-targets being directly exposed through illegal applications made by consumers?

Dr. Quinn’s research seeks to find answers to these questions by employing remote cameras to document what animals enter bait stations deployed in residential backyards.  The research will also evaluate if fewer non- target animals enter experimental bait stations positioned 2-3 meters off the ground.  In all, this research seeks to provide concrete evidence that bait stations target commensal rodents only, to assess the efficacy of off-ground baiting strategies, and to help pest management professionals tailor their rodenticide bait applications to specific situations and environments to increase efficacy and minimize non-target exposure.