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Real life bugs bunny creating chaos!

images (9)And we thought our beloved Bugs Bunny of the Looney Tunes fame has a carrot fetish alone! Sadly this is not the case. Rabbits despite their cute reputation as the much loved cartoon character in the form of bugs bunny or peter rabbit, are also a major pest species all over the world. This mammal is largely underestimated by most, but its capabilities to breed as well as, chew, eat and dig through most landscapes is second to none. A small population of rabbits can decimate a colossal amount of crop. It is estimated that rabbits cost the British agricultural industry £100million a year through crop damage.

Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagmorpha , found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera  in the family classified as rabbits.  Rabbits live in groups, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren. Rabbits have open-rooted teeth that grow continually throughout their lives. In the wild, rabbits chew on a wide variety of items that naturally wear down their teeth. Due to this tendency these animals much like rodents tend to gnaw on whatever it is that they can lay their hands on.

Rabbits are a major source of headache for farmers all over the world.  In areas where coppicing takes place and rabbits eat the new growth, the remainder of the tree will die off. Saplings are often targeted as well, meaning they will need to be replaced to provide correct woodland management. Rabbits are also capable of reaching heights of 50 cm plus when stretched out on hind legs and capable of climbing if there is low foliage around. When rabbits attack fruit trees, the next harvest will be a ‘bumper’ crop as it is natures’ way of carrying on by producing extra seeds. This however is short-lived as the trees invariably die. Rabbits cause all sorts of problems in gardens. They love eating plants and flowers, so cause great annoyance to those who like to keep their garden aesthetically pleasing. They have become such a major pest that just 7 to 10 rabbits can eat the same amount of food as one adult sheep, grazing on crops, grassland and young trees. Considering current estimates place the rabbit population at 35 million, growing 2 percent every year, it’s easy to see how they cause millions of dollars in damage to agriculture every year. To make the problem worse, in extreme conditions such as a drought year, rabbits can remove too much vegetation, leading to soil erosion. It is estimated that rabbit grazing will remove more seedlings in one year than would be planted in a decade of land care. Some of the species of plants being endangered due to rabbit grazing are Mulga, sugarwood, black oak, etc. What is more fascinating yet disturbing is the fact that rabbits don’t stop at grazing plants to ground level, they will dig plants up to get to moisture in roots and even ring-bark plants, all of which may cause the death of the plant and contribute to the soil erosion problem. Rabbits have had a catastrophic impact not only on the rangeland plants; but also on the fauna – both directly and indirectly. The effect of rabbits on soil erosion is difficult to measure. The removal of perennial plants by rabbit grazing will cause accelerated erosion, especially during drought. The removal of topsoil results in these areas being unsuitable for the capture and germination of seeds, so they remain bare and subject to further erosion. Even rabbit digging activities can contribute accelerated soil erosion.

Rabbit damage is not restricted toimages (2) the agricultural sector. Rabbits owing to their ever-growing incisors feel a perennial need to gnaw at every opportunity that they get. This annoying habit of theirs has become a reason for wide caused damage.

Bad habits by bad rabbits cause chaos at Denver airport

 on February 16, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Wild rabbits have been wreaking havoc on cars parked at Denver International Airport by eating spark plug cables and other wiring.

DENVER — Who says rabbits love eating carrots?

Bad bunnies in Denver seem to prefer chewing on car parts.

The furry creatures have been wreaking havoc on cars parked at Denver International Airport by eating spark plug cables and other wiring, according to a report by the Associated Press and KCNC-TV.

In an effort to stop the problem, federal wildlife workers are removing at least 100 bunnies a month while parking companies install better fences and build perches for predator hawks and eagles.

KCNC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Denver, says some airport visitors have sustained hundreds of dollars, even thousands, worth of damage to their vehicle

The TV station reports there’s another way to stop the damage that can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Mechanics say coating the wires with fox or coyote urine can rob the rabbits of their appetite. Fox urine can be purchased at many hunting shops.

Airport spokeswoman Laura Coale says that out of 4.3 million parking transactions in 2012, three claims were submitted for rodent or rabbit damage. None was submitted with a claim for towing.

The above incident is not an isolated one. There have been various incidences reported all over the world where rabbits have known to nibble on car wires to keep their incisors in shape.

Given the extent of damage that these creatures cause, necessary steps in the right direction must be taken so as to minimize the impact that their eating habits have on our lives. Killing them is not an option as they are a part of our very diverse eco-system and an integral one at that. A healthy rabbit population is necessary for the preservation of some species and habitats, e.g. rabbit-grazed dunes are needed for the breeding success of the rare natter jack toad, while wild rabbits are beneficial to some species of rare grassland butterflies in controlled grazing conditions. Rabbit grazing also helps prevent the colonization of undesirable species on sand dunes, and so helps sustain that habitat.

Thus a new and unique method needs to be devised to keep these jumpy mischief mongers away from our precious wires as well as garden plants. As we have already established that they are indeed an integral part of our eco-system, killing them is not an option. C Tech Corporation, an Indian company has come up with a novel solution to counteract problems caused by such creatures. They have come up with a range of non-toxic, non-hazardous environmental friendly animal and insect aversive. Their product Rodrepel®™ is a broad spectrum animal aversive majorly designed to be a rodent repellent but highly effective against other animals like rabbits and bears. It works by the action of repellence due to which it will drive away the rabbit from the application to be protected without harming the rabbit. The product is available in the form of polymer masterbatches that can be incorporated in piping for irrigation as also can be incorporated in wires and cables to protect them from rabbits. It is also available in the form of lacquer that can be applied on farm fencing, wood etc to ward off rabbits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voles boring a hole in cultivator’s pockets!!

download (1)As if all the pests in the world were not enough, cultivators have been forced to time and again acknowledge the fact that certain four-legged creatures are set to wreak havoc in our backyards and orchards! They are voles!

These relatively huge creatures, i.e. if you compare them with the measly crop pests that you usually encounter; can be a source of great nuisance to trees in the orchards almost to the extent of driving you up the wall.

A vole is a small rodent resembling a mouse but with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars – high-crowned and with angular cusps instead of low-crowned and with rounded cusps. There are approximately 155 speciesof voles. They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America.

The two main types of voles that cause damage are woodland voles also known as pine voles and meadow voles. The woodland vole (Microtus pinetorum) is a small vole  found in eastern North America . The woodland vole lives throughout the eastern United States, ranging as far as Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. They inhabit deciduous forests, dry fields, and apple orchards. In addition, apple orchards are a favorite habitat. Woodland voles tend to be sparsely distributed in natural habitats; densities usually are highest in orchards during fall. The average population density is up to 2.4 per hectare. Recorded densities range up to 15 per hectare, although they are likely to reach higher numbers in orchards. The root systems of trees are an important food source for voles and thus tree spacing affects the density of vole populations. Woodland voles amount to high economic losses owing to the damage they cause to apple orchards. Vole feeding costs apple growers annual losses of nearly $50 million.

The meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus), sometimes called the field mouse or meadow mouse, is  found across Canada and the northern  US. Its range extends further south along the Atlantic coast. Meadow voles are most commonly found in grasslands, preferring moister areas, but are also found in wooded areas. Meadow voles are active year-round and day or night, with no clear 24-hour rhythm in many areas. Meadow voles eat most available species of grasses, sedges, and forbs, including many agricultural plant species.  Leaves, flowers, and fruits of forbs are also typical components of their summer diet. Fungi have also been reported in meadow vole diets. They occasionally consume insects and snails, and occasionally scavenge on animal remains. Meadow voles may damage woody vegetation by girdling when population density is high. In winter, meadow voles consume green basal portions of grass plants, often hidden under snow. Other winter diet components include seeds, roots, and bulbs. They occasionally strip the bark from woody plants. Seeds and tubers are stored in nests and burrows.

images (2)Voles in general are a rodent species capable of causing a lot of damage because of their ability to multiply quickly in response to abundant food. Cultivated crops, orchards, and lawns all over often feel the brunt of this damage. The damage may be particularly severe in areas experiencing drought conditions. Population levels generally peak every 2 to 5 years, but these cycles are not predictable. These populations’ shifts may result in densities ranging from a few to several hundred voles per acre. In rare cases, vole populations may become extremely dense. During the early 1900s, vole populations were estimated at 25,000 per acre in some areas of Nevada.

Voles may cause extensive damage to fruit trees and orchards as a result of girdling seedlings and trees damaging roots. They will readily thrive on small plants. This girdling can easily kill young plants and is not healthy for trees or other shrubs. Voles will often eat succulent root systems and will burrow under plants or ground cover and eat away until the plant is dead. Bulbs in the ground are another favorite target for voles; their excellent burrowing and tunneling skills give them access to sensitive areas without clear or early warning. Voles feed on both the roots and stem system and the vegetation of plants, as well as fruits, seeds, bark, subterranean fungus and insects.. Vole damage can kill a tree outright, allow diseases to enter, or weaken the tree, resulting in decreased fruit production for the life of the tree. Damage occurs primarily during winter when other types of food are scarce. Since voles burrow in the snow, they may damage tree trunks as high as snow accumulates. Young trees are especially susceptible to attack. Damage from pine voles is harder to detect because it occurs underground as they consume small roots, girdle large roots and eat bark from the base of trees. By the time orchardists note weak, unhealthy trees, the damage is already extensive.

The most easily identified sign of meadow vole presence is a system of surface runways in the grass. Pine voles do not use surface runways, so their presence is much harder to detect. In apple orchards, tiny, elongated tooth marks on apples on the ground are signs of both meadow voles and pine voles. Probing the area under the tree with your fingers may help determine if there are vole runs close to the surface.

The estimated annual loss from vole damage to apple growers in North Carolina is $2.5 million!

Currently used methods of dealing with these annoying rodents are the use of extremely toxic and potentially dangerous rodenticides like Zinc phosphide, chlorophacinone and diphacinone. Zinc phosphide is acutely toxic to all vertebrates and therefore presents risks to non target wildlife in the orchard as well as safety risks to people. Chlorophacinone and diphacinone are much more toxic to rodents than to other mammals or birds but we still cannot eliminate the risk they pose to the non-target species.

Thus the time has come for us to let go of the past and move forward. The best way to achieve this is to stop taking undue risks posed by the use of toxic rodenticides and opt for a better and greener solution which will be non-toxic and harmless to the non-target species. C- Tech Corporation can provide with desirable and viable solution for the existing vole problem. Rodrepel™ a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product repels rodents like voles. The product works on the mechanism of repellence and does not kill the target or non-target species. Thus it will be effective in keeping the voles away from our precious crops. The product can be incorporated in agriculture films, irrigation pipes, mulches etc. to protect the crops from the voles.

 

 

 

 

 

Rats on a plane!!

imagesAir travel is a booming industry. With the advent of affordable fares it has become the new luxury that the middle and upper middle class can now afford. Another species which is making the most of the affordable air travel is the rodents!! Contrary to popular belief they are making these huge carriers their home. In the recent years there have been numerable incidents of rodent sightings on planes domestic as well as international. So why do these creatures want to be air borne? The primary reason for this is food. Rodents are constantly gnawing creatures they are always searching for new food sources and also shelter in case of cold weather.

There are generally four ways in which rodents enter in an airplane-the airports, jet ways, food carts or food vending companies, and cargo. Also since the carrier is a confined space they have no means of getting out once they are in. Rodents and rats in particular can cause damage of a serious nature. Rats consume and contaminate food, damage containers and packaging, also damage wiring. They also spread parasites and disease to other animals, and in some cases to humans. Once they enter into the aircraft they are hard to detect because of all the nooks and corners that they have to hide in.

finalRats have been the cause of great financial losses to various airlines. There have been numerable incidences wherein flights were delayed or even cancelled owing to rodent spotting. An incident was reported on 18th March, 2011 where a plane enroute Paphos was grounded due to presence of a rat in the cockpit. The pilot feared that the rat might chew on some wire thus endangering the safety of all the passengers aboard. The flight was grounded and a thorough inspection was done to rat out the rat before the plane could resume its journey. Many airlines have a safety measure in place where built-in alarm system   is present so that any break in the wires would set off a flashing light alert and the plane would be diverted to the nearest airport for landing.

wire3Another incident which came to light was in June, 2011 when five baby rats were found in a Quantas flight which forced an emergency landing. Flight attendants discovered the five rodents in a storage compartment just before the passengers were due to embark on the Brisbane-bound flight at Sydney. Engineers who inspected the aircraft deemed no damage had been done. Rats are proving to be a cause of grief for these airlines in more than one way as reported in AOI. Qantas is facing a lawsuit after one of the airline’s Platinum customers claims rats chewed through the wiring of his Aston Martin which he had sent for valet parking at the airport.

Another incident which came to light in August, 2011 was that of an SAS flight which was grounded at Stockholm as a rat was found mischievously scurrying the flight floor. All the 250 passengers were stranded and they had to rebook a separate flight. Airports resorted to using smoke to force the mouse out of the plane, but were not successful doing the same. These rats pose a safety as well as a health hazard as there have been incidences of rat droppings being discovered on plane. One such incident was recorded on the Delta Airlines flight. FDA investigators say they found “rodent excreta pellets” in some Delta planes. The primary areas of occurrence were in ceiling panels and places of food preparation and storage. The presence of these droppings so near the food storage area was alarming as the chances of a contamination occurring became very high. To comply with FDA regulations, all places where food is prepared, served, or stored including airline cabins must be kept free of flies, rodents, and other vermin.

The conventional methods being used to tackle this new threat are pest control using rodenticides. But these have been largely unsuccessful as cases such as mentioned above have been on the rise over the past few years. A rat once inside a plane can cause a great deal of damage in terms of life and money. A better way would be to devise such a strategy which ensures that the rats don’t gain access to the carrier.Rodrepel offers such a solution as it is non-toxic, aversive rodent repellant. It is available in paint or lacquer formulation which can be applied on the surface to be protected. Moreover it has very low leachability and very low vapor pressure and thus can’t leach out of the application or vaporize.

 

Feral pigs attack Europe!!

images (12)Wild boars are native across much of Northern and Central Europe. The first wild pigs in the United States originated solely from domestic stock brought to North America by early European explorers and settlers. Many years later, Eurasian wild boar were introduced into parts of the United States for hunting purposes. Feral pigs are a huge nuisance all over the European continent. They cause millions of dollars in damage as they attack agricultural fields, lawns and gardens. They uproot trees from their bases, dig through land and create huge craters rendering the land useless for any useful activity in the future.

There have been numerous reports of the damage inflicted by this invasive animal in all fields. The feral pig menace is an old one, hounding the European Union since the 1990’s. An incident was reported by The Independent, a newspaper in U.K on 28th June, 1997; that feral pigs were breeding at an alarming rate, their rate unhindered due to lack of a known natural predator. The article further went on to say that the pigs were also responsible for damaging crops, attacking humans and spreading diseases amongst livestock.

In yet another incident, a popular newspaper inimages (1) Europe reported on 25th November, 2009 that Europe was at war with wild pigs. The main reason for a surge in the population of wild pigs was attributed to climate change. The population had been on a rise in Germany specifically owing to radical human changes like change in agricultural land use, etc as was reported. The article further went on to state that humans had become targets for the pigs with many pigs attacking joggers, invading homes and tossing around furniture, etc. The article further went on to compare the pre-existing and the current populations of these feral pigs in various countries like France, Spain, Germany, Poland, etc. The article summarized that the feral pig population was on a steady increase all over Europe. Also a change in agricultural patterns in certain countries which resulted in increased growth of certain pig favorable crops played a major role in boosting their population; the article concluded.

The rendezvous of wild pigs with humans was demonstrated when a French woman had to be rescued via helicopter from wild pigs in France. This incident was reported by The Telegraph on 8th December, 2010. The article stated that young French woman had to be rescued from a tree on which she sought refuge to get away from a herd of wild pigs while strolling in a valley. The young woman was scandalized beyond doubt as she was stuck there for 6 long tedious hours fearing an attack least she fell down.

Now let us see the following article:

Boar wars: wild pigs are running riot through Europe’s towns and forests

From Fred Bridgland in Panzano, Italy

Sunday 14 November 2010

 

Two decades ago Tuscany’s boar population was almost hunted to extinction but then wild boar began migrating into northern Italy from the Balkans. Now about 150,000 boars roam the Tuscan hills and valleys once more.

Hunters cull about 30,000 animals each year, but barely make a dent on the overall population figure – female boars are ready to breed from the age of nine months and give birth to up to 13 piglets twice a year.

The exploding wild boar population is a phenomenon across most of Europe, and while conservationists welcome the population boom others with itchy trigger fingers want to bring the numbers tumbling down.

In Germany, where about 2.5 million boar roam the country’s forests and maize fields and even its urban gardens, barely a week passes without a newspaper reporting a human-boar encounter. Typical stories involve joggers getting chased into tree tops, boars smashing their way into houses and herds of the animals – weighing up to 200kg apiece – rampaging through village streets.

German hunters kill about 450,000 boars a year. In France, the figure is half a million. In Poland, the best guess is 200,000. Boar numbers are also on the increase in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and throughout eastern Europe and Russia.

Zoologists believe that warmer winters have reduced the death rates of older boars and of young ones born late in the year. They also argue that a rise in carbon dioxide levels has intensified sunlight and resulted in trees producing more acorns and chestnuts – high-energy snacks for boars, whose reproduction abilities increase with the amount of food available.

Boars in Europe are partial to maize and rapeseed, both of which are grown in large quantities for animal feed and biofuel. And one-fifth of Germany is covered in forest, the perfect habitat.

It is no surprise boars are doing so well. They are intelligent and adaptable, happy to eat discarded pizzas if maize and acorns aren’t available. Despite their weight, they can run at more than 30 miles per hour over short distances and are excellent swimmers.

Torsten Reinwald, a wild boar expert with the German Hunting Federation, said: “They have a well-organised social structure, and if the lead sow senses danger they all follow her. When they smell after-shave lotion or hear car doors slamming they immediately retreat from the hunting zone and hide in reeds until danger has passed.”

While farmers rant about their crops being plundered, the animals also cause about 25,000 traffic accidents each year.

An invasion of cities is also causing concern – Berlin has a wild boar population estimated at between 8000 and 10,000 and whole families of boar are often seen trotting through the streets of the Italian city of Genoa.

“People make it worse by feeding them,” Reinwald said. “In Berlin, buses avoid some stops because boars hang around begging, because people have decided to put out maize for them.”

The above article goes further to shed light on the alarming rate at which the feral pig population is growing all across Europe.

download (6)Damage from wild pigs is nothing new, and wherever wild pigs are present, they inevitably become a problem. Feral pigs can damage agricultural crops by eating or trampling them. They can also damage crops while rooting and wallowing, which damages plant roots, creates holes and ruts that can damage farm equipment and endanger operators. Wild hogs may occasionally prey on livestock, especially newborn lambs, goats or calves; when this happens, they are usually attracted to birthing grounds by the scent of afterbirth or fetal tissue. Acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, and other hard mast are a major food source for wild boars, leaving very few to grow into new trees in areas with high pig populations. Wild pigs use saplings and even mature trees of both pines and hardwoods as scratching and scent marking posts,  thus damaging them. The intense rubbing can damage bark layers, leaving the tree susceptible to harmful insects and pathogens.

Thus the damage caused by these wild pigs is a manifold one and it needs to be stemmed before it becomes uncontrollable. The best way of going about it would be to prevent the damage from occurring, that is finding a way of keeping these savage beasts away from our property and fields. Rodrepel®™ a product by C Tech Corporation can prove to be of use to combat the feral pig menace. Rodrepel®™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous rodent and animal repellent which works by the mechanism of repellence. It acts on the olfactory sense of the target species and repels them from the application that needs to be protected. This product is available in the form of polymer additive masterbatches which can be incorporated in agricultural films, micro-irrigation pipes, etc during processing so that the end product will be able to successfully repel the target species. Rodrepel™ can also be used in the automobile sector as it is available in the form of lacquer which can be applied in the form of coating on the cars or can be incorporated in the plastic body part of the car during processing. It can also be applied on fences and compounds to deter feral pigs from going there and causing damage. Thus Rodrepel™ can go a long way in limiting damage caused by this extremely filthy and wild creature.