TBRTC: Sharpen the saw, then some! Facts Thursday on Rats edition.

David Bennett

Rats are Neophobic

Rats are cautious, cautious creatures with long memories of unpleasant things like traps and poisons.  PCTOnline published an article recently about rat behavior and this is what they had to say: “Rats are not just wary of new objects, but, in some cases, seem to be repelled by them. This phenomenon is long lasting; it may take weeks for a rat to interact with a device and, in some cases, they never will approach a new device. This leads to the question, “How do we control rodents when portions of the population will never interact with our control devices?” By using sensor technology, we also have found that rodents will visit bait stations, yet not feed on the bait. So, not only do some rodent populations never interact with our devices, but some rodents interact in ways that we do not expect.”   Because of this neophobia, we are constantly pitted in a game of wits with rats—and it is darned difficult to outwit them.  

The Harvard Business Review published a study in 2015 that showed that just because humans have a complex brain it doesn’t make us smarter than rats.  “Ben Vermaercke and his colleagues at KU Leuven gave two cognitive-learning tasks to lab rats and students. With both tasks, the subjects were trained to distinguish between “good” and “bad” patterns and then tested on their ability to apply that know-how to new types of patterns. In the first task, the patterns varied on only one dimension—either orientation or spacing—and rats and humans performed it equally well. In the second, the patterns varied on both dimensions, and the rats did better than the humans.”   How do you overcome neophobia and natural smarts?   Let the games begin!  You can take away their food sources so that they are no longer unable to ignore baits. You can put delectable foods on the traps like fresh meat and shrimp (hey, they have gourmet taste! Cockroaches make great bait too!)  You can pre-condition the rat by baiting a trap that isn’t set in order to get them complacent about the trap.  You can disguise traps.  There are many stories about rats who outwitted the humans out to get them, which explains why they have survived so long. 

Take Rat seriously

  • Use Decoys.
  • Pheromones are effective attractants.
  • Glue traps least effective trap for rodents.
  • Higher priority Preferred spots analogy “Fish where the Fish are”
  • Rat can and often do make decisions, they regret when they make a bad decision.
  • Inspect ceiling spaces for activity.

Review our recent blog  ” Horror From Above – Rats can live your ceiling too” 

NOTE. We are exhibiting at New York Pest Management Associations event April 30th, Russo’s on the Bay, 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach NY 11414. Please come talk with us about rodent challenges and exclusion projects.     

Tags: Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, Fenn Trap, Instructional, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, Mk 4 Fenn Trap, MK6 Fenn Trap, Mole traps, Moles, National Pest Management Association, National Wildlife Control Operators Association, Neophobic, New York Pest Management Association, NPMA, NWCOA, NYPMA, Pest Control, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Rat infestation, Rat poisen, Ratastic, Rats, Rodexit, Wildlife removal

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