A Suggestion for Bait Station Manufacturers
Bait stations are boxes designed to restrict access by non-target animals (i.e. pets) and people (i.e. children). Bait stations also protect the bait from the harmful effects of weather, thereby helping to keep the bait fresh and palatable for rodents to consume.
As valuable as bait stations are, they are not perfect. Mouse-sized bait stations are typically not sufficiently strong for use outdoors. So people wanting to control mice outdoors often are forced to use the more durable rat-sized bait stations. You may say, “So what?” The problem is that rat-sized bait stations have openings that are large enough to allow rats to enter and find the bait. But if you only need to control mice, then the hole is too large by a factor of almost 2. While mice can still enter the larger opening, so can other animals such as ground squirrels and other non-target animals. So you may end up killing animals you don’t need to kill, but that it would raise the risk that you could kill animals that would be illegal to kill. If that doesn’t convince you of the problem, what about the wasted money in bait?
You could cut some screen and screw it over the opening to narrow the size to an inch or inch and half opening. But why don’t bait station manufacturers create stations with grooves by the opening where you could slide a piece of place with a narrower opening? Voila. The bait station would be a dual purpose one. The result would allow more targeted use of toxicants resulting in less rodenticide getting into the environment. Sounds like a win win for everyone.
Stephen M. Vantassel specializes in vertebrate pest issues. He is available for consultations, training, and writing.
PVC Pipe Toxic Bait Stations
Using bait stations to apply toxic baits for rodents is a good way to reduce the risks to non-target animals. Bait stations also protect the bait from undue exposure to damaging weather.
But if you are in an area where use of PVC pipe toxic bait stations is appropriate, then be sure to add a small barrier at the end of each of the pipes to prevent loose-grain bait from flowing out of the ends. Failure to have these end pieces will likely result in some of the loose grain bait being spilled and therefore available to non-targets.
Just be sure that the hole that remains is large enough to allow the target animals in while being small enough to keep larger animals out.
Voles and mice should have at least 1-inch gap. Rats should have 2.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator. He has published several books, including, The Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd ed.
Toxic bait dispenser for applying baits for ground dwelling animals don’t seem to be professionally manufactured. Fortunately, you can build your own homemade bait dispenser with some simple tools and materials.
The following homemade bait dispenser is made of 1/4-inch rod (about 30 inches), a washer, split rivet, and an end section of 1-inch copper pipe. Bend the rod to form a handle on one end, then flatten the other end and drill a hole through it to take the split rivet.
Drill a hole through a section of pipe and use the washer on the inside of the pipe. Measure the volume of the pipe section with water against a standard measurement (be it teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on the toxicant you plan on using. Grind or cut the pipe to match the needed volume.
It’s a great way to dispense bait around burrows of ground dwelling animals. Just be sure to ONLY use the device for toxicants.
Stephen M. Vantassel helps property owners resolve conflicts with vertebrate animals. He has written several books, including The Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd ed.
- You can build your own toxic bait dispenser with the following materials.
- 1/4- metal rod. About 24 inches in length
- Split rivet
- 1-inch wide end section of copper pipe
Cut it the end pipe to appropriate measurement size. Drill a hole through it heat and bend the metal rod to crest a handle flatten other end droll a hole through the rod connect the pipe, washer and rod with the split rivet. Check the capacity of the pipe again to ensure it is still the right measurement. Enjoy using the dispenser.