Efficacy and nontarget impact of zinc phosphide-coated cabbage as a ground squirrel management tool.

Author(s) Baldwin, R.A.; Halbritter, H.; Meinerz, R.; Snell, L.K.; Orloff, S.B.
Journal Pest Manag Sci
Date Published 2019 Jan 10

BACKGROUND: Effective management of ground squirrels relies on an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Rodenticides may be included in an IPM program, but they must be efficacious with minimal impact on nontarget species. A zinc phosphide-coated green bait may meet these requirements. We established a study in northeastern California to test zinc phosphide-coated cabbage as a management tool for Belding's ground squirrels (Urocitellus beldingi). We specifically addressed factors that would influence efficacy of a baiting program, as well as potential exposure risk to nontarget species.

RESULTS: We found that prebaiting was an important application strategy, and efficacy increased as ground squirrel abundance increased. Efficacy was also greater in western portions of the study area, likely due to greater bait consumption at western sites. Belding's ground squirrels fed most heavily on cabbage during mid-morning and late afternoon; bait applications shortly before these time periods would increase bait consumption while minimizing nontarget risk. Bait uptake was greatest around burrow entrances. The only nontarget species observed feeding on cabbage was the California kangaroo rat (Dipodomys californicus), although they were never observed feeding on treated cabbage.

CONCLUSION: Zinc phosphide-coated cabbage can be an efficacious tool for managing ground squirrels, but there will be limitations on where and how it can be used effectively. It posed a low risk to nontarget species present in our study area, but nontarget risk could vary regionally. The use of a zinc phosphide-coated green bait should only be one part of an IPM strategy for managing ground squirrels. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

DOI 10.1002/ps.5333
ISSN 1526-4998
Citation Baldwin RA, Halbritter H, Meinerz R, Snell LK, Orloff SB. Efficacy and nontarget impact of zinc phosphide-coated cabbage as a ground squirrel management tool. Pest Manag Sci. 2019.

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