Zinc phosphide has confirmed its effectiveness for the management of mice in agriculture

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Zinc phosphide has been shown to be an effective method of controlling mouse populations in grain baits used in large-scale agriculture.

According to new research by Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), doubling the amount of zinc phosphide (ZnP) in grain baits used in large-scale farming can significantly reduce the mouse population.

The results of a field study, titled “Improved control of house mice in the field with higher dose zinc phosphide bait”, published in Wildlife Research, confirm previous laboratory findings that mice are less sensitive to ZnP than previously reported.

The studies were conducted in response to farmers’ concerns that mouse baits were not as effective as they should have been in controlling mice in large-scale agriculture, particularly when mouse populations were high.

CSIRO researchers conducted a series of studies to reassess the sensitivity of mice to ZnP in the laboratory and the effectiveness of a new bait formulation in the field.

Zinc phosphide is an inorganic compound composed of phosphorus and zinc. It’s in rodenticide baits.

It turns into bait that attracts pests such as gophers, ground squirrels and field mice. When an animal consumes the bait, acid in its stomach converts zinc phosphide to phosphine.

Phosphine is an extremely toxic gas. Both aluminum phosphide and magnesium phosphide produce phosphonate. These are used as fumigants in grain storage. In some parts of the world, more than 80 products containing zinc phosphide are approved for use.

The Wildlife Research article is the third in a series looking at the response of mice to ZnP baits. The first two papers are the first efficacy studies conducted in Australia since ZnP was approved for agricultural use.

The first study, published in Pest Management Science, found that grain baits coated with 25g ZnP/kg grain did not always provide a lethal dose to mice, and mice that did not die after eating this bait were becoming bait showers.

Based on research from the CSIRO laboratory, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has granted an emergency use permit to increase the concentration of ZnP in cereal-based baits from 25 g ZnP/kg to 50 g ZnP /kg during the peak of mouse plague in 2021.

Efficacy research has produced consistent, scientifically rigorous results and adhered to principles defined by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines, in addition to being approved by the Ethics Committee of CSIRO’s wildlife, livestock and laboratory animals.

Some Ghanaian farmers are excited about the findings because of the relentless destruction the mice cause to their maize.

Seidu Mohammed, a farmer based in Ejura, says the research is very important and timely as the destruction of mice is devastating on their farms.

“Very devastating, especially during the main season and minor season harvest.”

“I think this will help reduce the invasion of mice on our farms,” ​​Seidu says, though he can’t quantify how much he and his colleagues spend on pest control like mice due to different farm sizes. and invasion levels each season.

The destruction of mice on Ayuba Gyibrilla’s farm is very high. If he doesn’t spend money controlling them, his 50-acre farmland loses 10-14% of its value.

“I spend about 1,250 cedis controlling them. I would like to try this method,” he said.

In their search for food and shelter, mice can spread disease, posing health risks in kitchens and food storage areas in particular. They can also multiply rapidly, making the problem worse.

It is essential to control a mouse infestation as soon as possible, as mice can damage property such as insulation, pipes, doors and floors, as well as contaminate food due to pathogens in their urine and their faeces which can transmit diseases such as hantavirus and salmonellosis. .

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