No one wants wild rats and mice on their property. From homeowners to farmers, getting rid of rodents and keeping them away is a top pest control priority. But some forms of pest control can make the rodents damaging to any prey animal that consumes them, so care must be taken to effectively control the rat and mouse population without harming owls and other birds of prey.
First of all, if you have a lot of rodents in your area, then it's likely there are owls, hawks and even osprey and eagles around. These creatures make a delicious meal for most carnivorous birds. If poisons are used to kill rodents, those chemicals will make their way to at least some of the birds.
An example: In one state, New York, rodent poisons were found in 49 percent of raptors that had been examined and in 81 percent of great horned owls. What can you do to prevent this? Read this article to find out.
Avoiding Dangerous Rodent Poisons
As a consumer, you can say no to anticoagulant rodenticides. These keep the blood from clotting and eventually lead to death. But they take time to work and so the rodent can get outside in open areas where birds of prey can easily consume them.
Few pest control experts will use these poisons, and if or when they do, it is done very carefully to prevent rodents from leaving the area. You should avoid purchasing and using any poison bait product to kill rodents without professional expertise.
How to Remove Rodents Effectively
There are ways that poisons can be used to destroy rats and mice without impacting birds, but it's best to hire an experienced pest control expert to apply and monitor them. Any residential exterminator is likely to use other tactics first, before bringing in poisoned baits, such as:
- Closing up entry points for mice and rats to access your home and outbuildings.
- Helping you remove sources of food for rodents by tightly sealing food storage, garbage containers and pet food.
- Traps, including snap traps, glue traps, electric shock "zap" traps and live traps.
How to Encourage Birds of Prey
Birds like owls don't have to just be avoided when removing rodents; they can be part of the solution. One family of barn owls can kill as many as 1,300 rats per year. Owls can locate rodents through their excellent sense of hearing, even in the dark.
To encourage owls around your property, make sure you have suitable housing. Build nesting boxes specifically for owls near where you are most likely to have mice and rats. You'll need to monitor these nesting boxes to make sure that starlings and other birds don't take them over.
For more help with your rodent problem, contact a local pest control company like Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services.