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Behavourial and biochemical research to discover ways to improve efficacy and specificity of rodenticide baits (Follow on VC0310) - VC0306

Description
(Joint with PSD - PV0601)

VC0306. Behavioural and biochemical research to discover ways to improve efficacy and specificity of rodenticide baits and rodent traps whilst reducing environmental hazards associated with their use.

In addition to increasing physiological resistance to rodenticides, there is increasing recognition of problems concerning efficacy of poison baiting techniques. Studies have highlighted a number of factors resulting in variation in bait acceptance among rat populations. Causes of poor bait acceptance include high availability of alternative food and avoidance of novel objects/food (neophobia) by individual rats, the latter of which might be a heritable trait. There is a need to develop a method of quantifying individual differences in neophobic behaviour in the laboratory; this could then be used to investigate the potential of selection pressure for increased neophobia and would allow more efficient evaluation of improved bait formulations (e.g. use of microencapsulation techniques), prior to conducting arena and field trials. This study will be composed of the following 3 objectives: 1. To quantify the degree of bait and bait-container neophobia shown by susceptible and resistant wild rats living under semi-natural conditions in large observation arenas. This would enable design and development of more attractive formulations and methods of bait presentation that increase efficacy while decreasing environmental hazard; 2. To provide methods of quantifying individual differences in the strength of neophobic responses towards novel objects and novel foods in house mice and thus make recommendations for improved population management strategies; 3. To discover chemical bait additives by using preference tests, hedonic scaling and taste profiling techniques to research the potential of sweeteners, appetite stimulants and certain sex pheromones. Successful ideas generated from these research objectives will be communicated to industry via meeting of organisations such as BPCA and trade journals. Full reports will be given to Policy Division and scientific publication will be sought where appropriate.
Objective
To quantify the degree of bait and bait-container neophobia
shown by susceptible and resistant wild rats living under
semi-natural conditions in large observation arenas in order
to design and develop more attractive formulations and
methods of presentation of bait that increase efficacy while
decreasing environmental hazard.

To provide methods of quantifying individual differences in
the strength of neophobic responses towards novel objects
and novel food in house mice and thus make recommendations
for improved population management strategies.

To discover chemical bait additives that enhance
specificity of rodenticide baits and increase bait
consumption, by using preference tests, hedonic scaling and
taste profiling techniques to research the potential of
sweeteners, appetite stimulants and certain sex pheromones.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1993

To: 1995

Cost: £342,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management