THE British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging poultry farmers to step up rodent control as part of measures to halt the spread of avian influenza.
Rodents on poultry farms are often found to be the source of salmonella outbreaks, but research suggests they can also be a vector for avian influenza.
There have been outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza on two commercial poultry farms, as well as findings in captive and wild birds across the UK.
The BPCA has recommended that farmers use one of its members, when developing their rodent management plans.
Dee Ward-Thompson, technical manager at BPCA said: “Rats and mice are a common pest issue for poultry farmers and bird keepers.
“Research indicates they may also be vectors in spreading avian flu, which is why we are urging bird keepers to prioritise rodent management as part of their biosecurity measures.
“For any rat infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest management company, a member of BPCA.
“They are trained in rat control and will have access to a range of professional use rodenticides and tools, which are not available to the public.
“Professional pest controllers will take an integrated pest management (IPM) approach to tackling your infestation.
“A pest professional will have access to monitoring equipment, which they will use to confirm entry points into your property, the size of the infestation and to track the rat to its nest.
“They can then recommend a proofing strategy and decide on the best course of action in terms of control; this could be traps, rodenticides or a combination of both.”