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Infestations of rats, mice and other pests – and how to deal with them – were the topics of a Vector Control Conference. City staff and private sector experts shared tips and solutions.
PEST control experts shared tips and information at the City’s Vector Control Conference, an indaba to tackle problems caused by pest infestations, particularly of rodents.

 

Region C's operational manager for pest control Mustapha Hendricks talks about the fly trapRegion C's operational manager for pest control, Mustapha Hendricks, talks about the fly trapThe conference was held at the Phelindaba Chamber at the Roodepoort Civic Centre on 18 February. Presentations were made by experts in the private sector and by City employees on a variety of topics, including controlling flies, controlling rodents and the effects of killing bees.
 

Joburg’s Lehlohonolo Lenka spoke about the importance of bees to the environment and humanity.

“If we completely rid our city of bees, we are going to have major problems on our hands.” Lenka explained that since bees contributed towards pollination, if they were all killed food would be expensive and flowers would not bloom.

This would, in the long run, frustrate farmers and eventually negatively affect the country’s economy. He spoke about ways of saving and encouraging the bee population, which included planting wild flowers in gardens, not using pesticides because they poisoned bees, and not applying insecticides while fruits trees and other crops were blooming.

Moloko Bopape, another City employee, researched overcrowding, illegal dumping and lack of sanitation as the main attracters of rodents in Orlando East, in Soweto.

He surveyed over 70 households to see how many families lived in one yard and how many ablution facilities they had in the yard. He found that more than 50 percent of the households had at least two or three families, with a minimum of three to five members each, living in one yard.

There was much illegal dumping, which led to sewage pipes being blocked. This then resulted in sewage water running on the streets. “This is all rats need to have an unending party,” he concluded.

Pesticides
A representative of Bayer Advanced, the insect and pest control company, said there were five golden rules when it came to controlling rat and mice problems effectively. They were: inspection, identification, sanitation, rodent proofing and rodenticide.

 

City's director for environmental health, Peter Manganye The City's director for environmental health, Peter ManganyeRegarding inspection, people should look carefully and try to determine exactly where the infestation starts. Things to look for might include smudge marks left by the rodents’ oily hair, its droppings and damage to structures. This would allow for the problem to be tackled at source.
 

Regarding identification – by observing the rodent’s identifying characteristics and by inspecting its droppings, one would be able to work out which of three species they were dealing with. From there, it would be easy to focus on the correct measure to eliminate the problem.

Mice and rats had significantly different behaviour patterns and needed to be controlled differently. House mice were usually found in building interiors and cupboards, while roof rats liked roofs and climbing areas. Norway rats were found outdoors and in burrows.

Speaking of sanitation, it was important to remove the rodent’s food sources to ride the house of rodents. Garbage and food should be stored in sealed containers and outside debris and vegetation that was in contact with buildings should be removed.

In addition, the number of water sources where rodents were able to drink such as ditches, stagnant pools, fountains and ponds, should be limited.

Rodent proofing meant keeping rats out of buildings by closing typical places where they gained access. For example, all holes in exterior walls should be closed.

Finally, an effective rodenticide should be used. Poison baits had proved to be the most cost-effective option to eliminate rodents. Using bait dispensers was strongly recommended to keep bait fresh and to prevent accidental ingestion by non-targeted animals.

According to the City’s director for environmental health, Peter Manganye, the main aim of the vector conference was to get the City’s vector control staff from the different regions together so that they could share ideas on how best to deal with different situations.

He said they were pleased with the results and were looking into turning the conference into an annual gathering.

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