Starlings: A threat to our crops, structure and even human life!!

We often see scarecrow standing in the middle of the farm to scare images (4) away the birds from the field. Birds have the nasty habit of attacking our agriculture crops and damaging them. Scarecrows in the field try their level best to protect our farms but are generally unsuccessful in discouraging the birds from eating the crops. Birds are responsible for loss of millions of dollars as they damage the farm produce. Birds like crows, pigeons, magpie, black bird and many more contribute to this loss of amounting to millions of dollars in damage. European Starlings is one among these birds and they try to give a strong competition to their fellow birds in damaging human belongings.

images (3)The Common Starling is known as the European Starling or in the British Isles just the Starling. Starlings are medium-sized birds, growing to about 8 inches long. They have short tails and are somewhat chunky. Their color is mostly black, with a bill that is yellow in summer and black in winter. Starling feathers are often iridescent, meaning they have a greenish-purple shine to them when light hits them just right. Juvenile is uniform dull gray with dark bill.

Starlings have about a dozen subspecies  breeding in open habitats images (1)across its native range in temperate Europe  and western Asia. They have been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North America, South Africa and elsewhere. This bird is present in southern and Western Europe and south western Asia, while north eastern populations migrate south and west in winter within the breeding range and also further south to Iberia and North Africa.

This bird has been introduced in America in 1890’s from Europe and now has become a common sight in America.  A wealthy drug manufacturer and Shakespeare lover, Eugene Scheifflen, decided he would attempt to bring every bird mentioned by Shakespeare to the United States, starting with starlings. The first flocks were located in Central Park. By 1910 the birds were well-established on the East Coast south to Virginia. By 1942 they had spread the width of the United States to California. The Common Starling was originally introduced to Australia in order to decrease the population of crop pests—insects which the starlings were known to eat. Early settlers looked forward to the bird’s arrival, believing that starlings were also important to the pollination of flax, an important crop. Nest-boxes for the newly released species were placed on farms and near crops. The Common Starling was introduced to Melbourne in 1857 then Sydney in 1880. By the 1880s, established populations were present in the southeast, thanks to the work of acclimatization committees. By the 1920s, starlings were widespread through Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales, but they were now recognized as pests and Western Australia banned their import in 1895.

Problems are typically associated with massive gatherings of roosting and nesting starlings including damage to trees, buildings, and crops. imagesDroppings can quickly accumulate causing unsanitary, unsightly and unsafe conditions. Bird droppings are corrosive and can damage stone, metal, car finishes and masonry. Nests built in machinery; drainage pipes and other available building spaces can damage property, create fire hazards and spread unsanitary nesting materials. In agricultural areas, flocks of starlings cause significant damage to crops harvesting seeds and young plants. They will also take advantage of feed lots and can actually cause significant depletion of feed supplies. Large flocks can also be a danger to aircraft when active near airport.

Invasive European starlings were reported to the USDA’s Wildlife Services program as causing damage in every state except North Dakota and Alaska. In the Great Plains, starlings often migrate and roost with blackbirds. Consequently, the birds may not have been accounted for in every geographic location due to their mixing with blackbirds. Over the 8-year period, 1990-1997, starlings accounted images (2)for more than $13.5 million in damage to all resources, ranging from $235,067 to $4, 137119 with an average of $1,694,170 and a median of $1,457,014 per year. Pimental et al. (2000) estimated that yearly starling damage to agriculture was $800 million in damages per year to agriculture crops based on a figure of $5/ha. The Wildlife Service’s-reported damage, attributable to starlings, comprised only 1.7% of this total. This does not account for the 25 diseases that may be transmitted to humans (Weber 1979) where a monetary value cannot be readily derived. It is also difficult to derive a monetary value for environmental damage caused by starlings, such as displacing native birds from nesting cavities. (Bergman 2002).

Starlings, like blackbirds and many other pest birds, form communal roosts. These roosts can be home to 10,000 or more birds. The combined weight of large numbers of birds may break small branches and new shoots of trees, causing disfiguration. The accumulations of download (2)droppings, which may exceed 1 ft in depth, are phytotoxic and can kill mature trees. Roosts near airports are a potential safety hazard. Airborne starlings can be sucked into plane engines causing extensive damage or downing the plane. Filth, noise and odors from roosts near or in urban areas disturb nearby residents. Starling depredations impact numerous agricultural crops including cherries, grapes, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, figs, apples, and ripening corn. Cattle feedlots suffer most from wintertime flocks which can reach as high as 100,000 or more per day. Individual starlings, which weigh approximately 3 ounces, can each eat up to 1 ounce of food per day. A million starlings can consume 27,500 tons of livestock feed during winter months and despoil more feed with their droppings.

Let’s take a look at the following articles which reports the nuisance caused by pesky little pest;

Pesky starlings endanger planes, damage crops

Mike Stark, Associated Press, September 20, 2009

The next time the sky darkens with a flock of noisy unwelcome starlings, blame Shakespeare – or, better yet, a few of his strangest fans.

Had the Bard not mentioned the starling in the third scene of “Henry IV,” arguably the most hated bird in North America might never have arrived. In the early 1890s, about 100 European starlings were released in New York City’s Central Park by a group dedicated to bringing to America every bird ever mentioned by Shakespeare.

Today, it’s more like Hitchcock.

Some 200 million shiny black European starlings crowd North America, from the cool climes of Alaska to the balmy reaches of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The enormous flocks endanger air travel, mob cattle operations, chase off native songbirds, and roost on city blocks, leaving behind corrosive, foul-smelling droppings and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage each year.

And getting rid of them is near impossible.

Last year U.S. government agents poisoned, shot and trapped 1.7 million starlings, more than any other nuisance species, according to new figures, only to see them roaring back again.

“It’s sort of like bailing the ocean with a thimble,” said Richard Dolbeer, a retired Wildlife Services researcher in Sandusky, Ohio who spent years trying to figure out ways to keep starlings – which he calls “flying bullets” – and other birds from causing problems at airports. Federal aviation officials say they have caused $4 million in damage since 1990.

After the starlings’ introduction, they quickly expanded west, taking advantage of vast tracts of forested land opening up to agriculture and human development, Dolbeer said. By the 1950s, starlings had reached California and nearly all parts in between. Today, it’s one of the most common birds in the U.S.

Their prodigious presence is no mystery. Starlings breed like crazy, eat almost anything, are highly mobile and operate in overwhelming numbers. They’re also expert at nesting in protected nooks and making an intimidating statement as they swirl in vast clouds called “murmurations.”

“They’re great survivors and quite the biological machine,” said Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation at the National Audubon Society.

They’re also responsible for the most deadly bird strikes in aviation: a 1960 civilian crash in Boston that killed 62 and a 1996 military cargo plane crash that killed 34 in the Netherlands. Since then, there have been close calls, including a Boeing 747 that ran into a flock in Rome last fall. No one was killed but the badly damaged plane had a rough landing.

Those kinds of scenarios are why wildlife biologist Mike Smith has been tweaking a series of traps used at Salt Lake City International Airport, where there have been 19 reported starling strikes since 1990. The traps use dog food to attract a starling or two. Hundreds more soon follow, driven by their innate desire to flock with each other. He once caught 800 in a single day.

The most popular lethal tactic is a poison called DRC-1339, which is often sprinkled on french fries, a favorite starlings snack. Within a day or two, starlings keel over from organ failure.

No other state poisoned more starlings last year than Washington. Starlings there caused $9 million in damages to agricultural operations over five years. Nationwide, starlings cause $800 million in damage to agricultural operations each year, according to a Cornell University estimate.

At one feed lot, some 200,000 starlings gathered each day, lining fence tops, wires, water troughs and even perching on top of cows. They’ve learned to steal the most nutritious morsels from the cattle troughs and pose an ever-present threat of moving disease from one ranch to another, said Roger Woodruff, director of Wildlife Services in Washington.

Nearly 650,000 starlings were poisoned last year in the state, an all-time record, he said.

When killing’s not an option, agents often turn to harassment campaigns.

In downtown Indianapolis, flocks as large as 40,000 show up around dusk in the winter to hang out, find food and keep warm. They quickly wear out their welcome with their noise and their mess. Crews are deployed nearly every night to scare them off with lasers, pyrotechnic explosions and noise devices with names like “screamers” and “bangers.”

Like other urban areas, they’ve had some success shooing them out of downtown and onto undeveloped land, said Judy Loven, director of Wildlife Services in Indiana, but it’s likely going to be an ongoing battle.

“They’re pretty much wise to our ways and pass that information along,” said Jeff Homan, a wildlife researcher in Bismarck, N.D., who’s part of a team focusing on starlings and blackbirds.

It’s unlikely those who engineered the starlings’ release in Central Park – including its leader, New York drug manufacturer named Eugene Schieffelin – could have fully imagined the consequences of their experiment, said author Kim Todd, who wrote about the introduction in her 2001 book “Tinkering With Eden: A Natural History of Exotic Species in America.”

“It’s sad but true that we often only see a creature’s beauty when it is out-of-reach or rare,” Todd said in an e-mail. “I can’t imagine that Schieffelin, who appreciated starlings on the page and in small groups, would have the same affection for them in their enormous, pesky flocks.”

To deal with the problem of these birds there is only one effective solution: Rodrepel™, a unique and non-toxic product of C Tech Corporation. Rodrepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly rodent and bird repellent. Rodrepel™ is available in solid masterbatch and liquid form for various polymer and coating applications. Rodrepel™ in solid masterbatch form can be incorporated in agriculture films to protect crops from the attack of pests like crows. They can also be incorporation in irrigation tubes, pipes and hoses. Rodrepel™ can be applied as coatings on applications to protect them from pests. The unique quality that makes Rodrepel™ different from the conventional methods is that it works on the mechanism of repellence.

Porcupines: Quills that hurt!

downloadThey have stiff, sharp, erectile spines or quills, they are Porcupines! They are mainly found in America, Southern Asia and Africa. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents in the world. They have quills which are sharp and stiff which help them in their defense. Most porcupines are about 25–36 inch long, with an 8–10 inch long tail. Weighing 12–35 lb, they are rounded, large and slow. The quills are modified hairs that are mixed in with other hair. A porcupine defends itself by thrusting its quills into the flesh of an attacking animal. Quill attack is very dangerous for the attackers and even deadly. Porcupines cause much damage to trees and crops.

Porcupines are usually nocturnal and are active all year round. During summer, porcupines often feed on succulent plants, including garden and truck crops in open meadows, fields, and along the banks of streams and lakes. Greatest damage is caused in winter when porcupines feed on the inner bark of trees. During fall, porcupines substantially imagesincrease their intake of tree gathering materials for forage by approximately 72%. Girdling in the upper trunk of trees often results in dead tops. Basal girdling may occur on seedlings. Porcupines are attracted to anything containing perspiration salt: saddles, harnesses, belts, and tool handles.

Porcupine’s quills and guard hair are used for traditional decorative clothing. For example, their guard hair is used in the creation of the Native American “porky roach” headdress.

It was reported in DNA on 3rd February 2013 in Srinagar that “Porcupines threaten Kashmir country side, damage crops”.

An explosion in the population of Himalayan porcupines threatens to wreak havoc on the saffron and vegetable, crops and fruit trees in Kashmir Valley. Long- time residents say they have no memory of the animal; its sighting is a new phenomenon. Some wildlife experts and researchers said that in the search of food and due to shrinking habitat and human interference in forest areas have caused the porcupines to move towards the human habitations

Porcupines are fond of tuber crops like potatoes, saffron corms (the swollen underground stem that some plants have to survive harsh conditions like winter snow) cabbages, fruit barks etc. Many Local saffron growers complain that the porcupine population is a serious threat to their crop,

Many statements are reported against Porcupines stating the injuries they caused-:

“Many watchdogs in the countryside have been injured by porcupine quills in violent encounters. As they have their powerful defense mechanism, which is extremely, sharp and effective quills. The quills serve as natural armour,” said Rouf Ahmad Zargar, wildlife warden, North Kashmir.

Due to the damage and the increase in the population of Porcupines Wildlife expert Rashid Naqash said that if there is official acceptance that the population of porcupines has reached menacing levels, the animals could be categorized as “vermin”.

“A porcupine recently damaged the eye of a child in a north Kashmir village” said a resident.

Similarly, as reported by Fox News in January 2009, In Telluride, the residents complained against the damage made by Porcupines.

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Porcupines are becoming a prickly pest for Telluride-area residents.

Residents say the rodents are chomping on the bark of spruce trees, yard trees, and have killed 50-foot-high native trees. The damage is estimated at more than $100,000 in the Mountain Village above Telluride.

Porcupines also favor salty and sweaty items, so plywood treated with a sodium-based substance has become attractive to them. They’ve also munched on shoes, vehicle tires, and tool handles.

Mountain Village resident Vicki Irwin says she’s never seen the porcupines be so aggressive.

Some possible reasons cited for the porcupine’s behavior are a harsh winter last year that ramped-up their appetites and the rodents can roam freely because many of the town’s 4,100 residents live elsewhere most of the year.

As porcupines play an important role in the ecosystem, so killing them is not a solution. To save the crops and vegetation there must be a green and safe alternate.

C Tech Corporation caters as a solution its niche product Rodrepel®™. It is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environmentally friendly anti-rodent aversive. It is effective for a period of upto 40 years. Rodrepel®™ can be incorporated in agricultural films, tarps, pipes, plastics, ducts, tubing and hosing.

Combating raccoons the non-toxic way!

A band of raccoons can be a formidable enemy to deal with!

images (5)Raccoons are wild animals- they are the worst house guests that anyone could ask for. They are sloppy and destructive creatures! They invade our precious homes and make themselves at home in the attic.The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal  native to North America. It is the largest of the family, having a body length of 40 to 70 cm and a body weight of 3.5 to 9kg. Its grayish coat mostly consists of dense underfur which insulates against cold weather. Two of the raccoon’s most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask  , which are themes in the mythology of several  Native American tribes . Raccoons are noted for their intelligence , with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years!

Raccoons have a tendency to destroy everything that they can lay their hands on. Home attics seem to be their habitat of choice. Raccoons given their destructive nature are reported to have torn ducts, insulation on pipes, chewed on wires, etc. It is believed that they do so in search for a bedding place. Raccoons are at the top of the list of wildlife that destroys vegetable gardens. They also are notorious for raiding bird feeders at night as well as garbage cans.

There have been numerous reports of raccoon damage. People in general don’t understand the risks associated with inviting these unruly creatures into their homes as pets. Raccoons are capable of spreading havoc as was demonstrated by a hair-raising incident. This happened a very long time ago, when a beautiful girl got scarred for life as she was attacked by a pet raccoon that mauled her when she was just 3 months old!! The poor soul went through excruciating pain and trauma and had to undergo numerous reconstructive surgeries even 10 years after the unfortunate incident. This was reported by the Mail online in an article dated 16th August, 2012. It also states that the “pet” raccoon had chewed off a part of her face in the incident.

download (2)Also another incident was reported by on 15th March, 2011 where a 4-day old baby was attacked by a raccoon. The baby suffered from puncture wounds and a cut on her head. The reason for the attack was believed to be nosy and inquisitive nature of the animal.

Children in particular are highly vulnerable to attack from these vicious animals. A recent incident which went to press on 8th May, 2013 illustrates the same. The journalist reports that a 6-year old girl was subjected to unprovoked surprise attack in her own backyard. Imagine not being safe in your own backyard!

These wily creatures not only cause carnal damage, but also economical damage. Being inquisitive as well as dexterous by nature, they amount to huge damage in the wire and cable industry. They will chew wires and cables more often out of curiosity. Moreover most insurance companies don’t cover damage caused due to raccoons. They don’t pay for animal damage because it is seen as a direct result of homeowner neglect.

The time has come to protect our loved ones as well as our precious belongings from these raccoons. We at C Tech Corporation recognize this problem and have worked towards finding a practical solution for the same. Rodrepel™ is the product of years of tremendous efforts coupled with innovative technology. Our product Rodrepel™ works effectively in repelling rodents and other aggressive animals like raccoons. It is one of its kind non-toxic, non-hazardous and eco-friendly rodent and animal aversive. It is available in polymer compatible masterbatches which can be incorporated in cables and cable insulation as well as wires. It is also available in the form of lacquer which can be applied on wooden doors and frames as well as on fences to keep raccoons from entering the property.This product will be instrumental in keeping raccoons out of your house as well as life!






Rodents- A threat to fiber optics….

An optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber made of glass or plastic. FibreIt can function as a waveguide, or “light pipe”, to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. Optical fibers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, which permits transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths than other forms of communication.

Fiber optic cables find many uses in a wide variety of industries and applications. Some uses of fiber optic cables include:

  • Medical
  • Defense/Government
  • Data Storage
  • Telecommunications Networking
  • Industrial/Commercial
  • Broadcast/CATV

Fiber optic cables are used for lighting and imaging and as sensors to measure and monitor a vast array of variables. Fiber optic cables are also used in research and development and testing across all the above mentioned industries. The demand for fiber optic cable has reached upto 182million fiber per km as reported in 2010.

Optical fiber cables are exposed to a number of potential hazards in outdoor environments. fiber-optic-3One such hazard is cable damage caused by gnawing rodents. Such damage can occur in a relatively short period of time and can significantly impact the long-term reliability of outside plant optical fiber cables. The propensity for damage depends upon several factors including the specific species of rodent, the type of installation, and the geographic location of the installation. In North America, direct buried optical cables are susceptible to attack primarily from gophers. Aerial cables however are susceptible to attack by squirrels – especially in areas where trees are close to cables. Rats have also been considered to be a potential threat to cables deployed in manholes, tunnels, or in other confined spaces.

rodent-damage-2Rodent damage to communications cables is more than just a nuisance, as it can result in costly repairs and service interruptions.

There are many conventional methods used to protect fiber optic cables but unfortunately they result in increase in the price and are also not very useful to install. Some of these methods are increasing the diameter of cables, metallic armoring etc.

Cable design and placement methods are the key to assure a long-term resistance to rodent attacks. Incorporating metallic armoring into the cable construction is not a feasible option as its weight compared to normal fiber optic cables is heavier and price is higher than the fiber optic cables.

By increasing the diameter of cable we can prevent damage at some level but adding material to increase cable diameter is typically not a viable or cost effective solution.

One such incident that occurred  in November 2012 was publised in News paper of Orange county-:verizon phone problem blamed on rodents

PA-12 is supposed to be inherently having anti-termite properties. It is a hard plastic but not an anti-termite as it gets damaged by the formic acid secreted by many termites, ants, beetles, wasps and bees. Formic acid is a colorless liquid having a highly pungent, penetrating odor, at room temperature.3 percent of the body weight of termite is made up of formic acid.

In Bhopal – Itarsi railway track fiber optic cables that were laid along the tracks were  jacketed by 1mm layer of PA-12 . But just after 2 months cables were worn down by the rodents.

Many telecom operators in countries like Australia, New Zealand and India are using PA-12 in their fiber optic cables as outer jacket.

Due to the shortage of PA-12 and high prices alternatives is to replace PA-12 with HDPE which is assumed to be anti-termite and anti-rodent but it can’t be as PA-12 has better properties than HDPE.

If PA-12 cannot protect fiber optic cables from rodents and termites which are hardest polymer and have excellent properties then how can HDPE?

Thus we can conclude that PA-12 and HDPE which are assumed to have anti-termite and anti-rodent properties in reality don’t have them.

Considering all these important aspects; the solution should be something which is non-toxic, non-hazardous to animals as well as to human beings and eco-friendly with long life span as it is not possible to change the entire cable every second week!

Rodrepel®™is the best sound solution to the problem.  Rodrepel®™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly aversive, it does not leach out of the polymeric matrix and has a life span of 5-40 years depending upon the application.

Rats blamed for train arson!!

1Rats here, rats there, rats everywhere! This is the condition of Indian Railways as of today. Indian Railway is the lifeline of every average Indian. It is the second largest rail network in Asia transporting about 30 million people daily. Touted as one of the most commuter friendly means of travel, they are the most preferred means for every average Indian. Apart from connecting the most far reaching and hitherto inaccessible areas to each other, it provides us with a means of pocket friendly commute.

A train journey is quite the experience for kids and adults alike. But what happens when they are confronted with abominable co-passengers like rats and cockroaches? Well the “happy” train ride gets quickly transformed into a ghoulish nightmare! The perpetrators of this horror movie are the nasty rodents, cockroaches and bedbugs. They have stealthily made their way into the complex railway network and captured every nook and corner.

Rodents are rampant in coaches adjoining p2the pantry cars. Owing to the wide and continuous usage of the railway carriages, there is ample food in the form of leftovers from meals. Also the presence of bedding in the Air Conditioned coaches makes for ideal home for insects like bedbugs. Ensconced in the linen and blankets given to passengers travelling on AC two and three-tier coaches, bed bugs become active once lights in coaches go off and passengers hit the sack. According to a survey, the most commonly infested places are the mattress (98.2%).

Despite repeated complaints the Railway authorities have been able to do little regarding this problem. There have been numerous cases where passenger trains have been delayed due to passengers staging a full-fledged “rail roko” a popular term for forceful stoppage of trains by passengers owing to dissatisfactory services rendered. The past 3-4 years have seen a hike in such revolts. On an average, 773 rats and over 31,368 cockroaches per month are exterminated from coaches at Secunderabad and eight other coaching depots under SCR (South Central Railways) limits every month. Not only the SCR but other branches of Railways too bear the brunt of these wily pests. As a solution to this the Railway authorities have been handing out expensive pest control contacts to reputed agencies. These pest agencies use poisonous chemicals and gases as a means to combat the pest problem, but at the end of the day are none the wiser. The pests might leave the carriages alone temporarily, but the temptation of food is too alluring to resist. They come back soon! In the end the problem remains untreated; the commuters continue to be harrowed!

Presence of these creepy crawlers is highly bothersome. Rats and cockroaches have resulted in the loss of peace of mind of commuters till now; but considering the recent turn of events, rats might just turn out to be the cause for loss of life! This is something that we cannot ignore!

Lets us look at the below news article:


Rats behind Bangalore-Nanded Express blaze?

V Kamalakara Rao, TNN | Jan 1, 2014, 11.04 PM IST


VISAKHAPATNAM: Four days after the train blaze in Anantapur district, that claimed 26 lives, railway authorities are still sticking to their short circuit theory despite their inability to ascertain the actual reason that sparked off the blaze. Experts however point out that this short circuit could well be due to the rodent menace which has grown into unmanageable proportions.

According to experts, mice chew the protective rubber insulation off the electricity wires and studies also reveal that rodents are behind nearly 5-6% of power outages and short circuits.

Andhra University professor GVKR Sastry, who has 35 years of experience in teaching and research in the field of electrical engineering, explained the role rodents play in triggering short circuits either by chewing the cables or by coming in contact with `positive’ and `negative’ nodes or terminals.

A short circuit is an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit intended to be at different voltages. “If a rodent is stuck between the two nodes, the connection between the nodes of the circuit lead to an abnormal stage, causing circuit damage, overheating, fire or explosion,” Prof Sastry explained.

“There are possibilities of rodents triggering short circuits. It happens often. However, I can’t ascertain the reasons behind the Bangalore-Nanded Express fire without examining the incident spot,” Sastry concluded.

Agreeing with Prof Sastry, Anil Kumar, divisional railway manager, Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR), said that railway officers concerned currently suspect that the fire may have been triggered by a short circuit. “I agree that rodents could also be one of the reasons behind short circuits,” Anil Kumar told TOI.

Visakhapatnam Railway Zone Sadana Samiti convener JV Satyanarayana Murthy said, “In my experience with the Railways, I have found a number of rodents or mice crawling in the AC coaches of trains, particularly in Garibrath Express that is a fully-AC daily train plying between Visakhapatnam and Secunderabad. This theory was also proved right when a fire mishap took place in my car after rats chewed off some wires. The privatization of maintenance works of the coaches has led to the poor condition of the coaches and the rising number of rodents.”

When contacted, ECoR chief public relation officer JP Mishra said: “We are keeping a strict watch on complaints from passengers on rodents and pests. The root cause lies in the maintenance and sanitation at the railway station and proper cleaning of the coaches, especially the pantry cars. If there are any complaints they will tighten the mechanism and continue the strict vigil.”

The above incident is a shocking one. The loss of 26 lives is being attributed to measly rodents!


Rats are inquisitive by nature and love exploring new places. Also they are characterized by a pair of ever growing incisors which need to be kept short by gnawing. Rats are attracted to the smell and color of polymers and therefore electric wires and cables are a soft target for them to gnaw at. Chewing by rats damages the cables and wires and can result in short circuit as in the above case.

Efforts by the Railways need to be quadrupled to effectively deal with this problem. It has been proved time and again that the conventional pest control strategies have failed and lakhs of rupees have gone down the drain. In order to prevent the occurrence of any untoward incident in the future at the behest of rodents or pests, new and effective methods need to be designed and followed through.

C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to this problem. Our products Rodrepel™ and Combirepel™ are non-toxic, non-hazardous rodent and pest aversive. They are available in the form of masterbatches which can be directly incorporated in the polymer matrix during processing of wires and cables. This would result in the final cable or wire being rodent and pest repellant. This would be an efficient way of deterring the rodents from chewing the cables and wires and thus negate the possibility of a short circuit. Gruesome accidents like above can thus be avoided.

Rodrepel™ and Combirepel™ are also available in lacquer form and can be applied directly on the outside as well as inside of the railway coaches. These products can effectively control the proliferation of these undesired pests!


Culprit of Power Outages: RODENTS!!!!!

Rodents have a very peculiar habit of gnawing things. Their particular imagesfavorites are polymeric applications like cables, pipes, films etc. This habit of the rodents has serious repercussions for us. The rodents are notorious for gnawing through the cables and causing power outages. In US, most of the times the culprit for power outages are rodents like squirrels.

It was reported in New York Times that, “Since Memorial Day, I’ve cataloged reports of 50 power outages caused by squirrels in 24 states. images (3)(And these, of course, are only those power outages severe enough to make the news.) Fifteen hundred customers lost power in Mason City, Iowa; 1,500 customers in Roanoke, Va.; 5,000 customers in Clackamas County, Ore.; and 10,000 customers in Wichita, Kan. — and that was just during two particularly busy days in June. A month later, there were two separate P.O.C.B.S., as I’ve come to call power outages caused by squirrels, around the small town of Evergreen, Mont., on a single day.”

In 2006, Georgia Power estimated squirrel-related damage cost the company $2 million in 2006, according to USA Today. On many instances, because of power surge expensive electrical items are damaged.

This habit of rodents chewing through the cables becomes more images (2)dangerous when they work their way in nuclear plants and cause power outages. Power outage in nuclear plants is a serious issue as many vital operations in the plants run on electricity and their stoppage may lead to dangerous and life threatening situations. One such incident was reported by CNN International on 21st March 2013. The report stated, A ‘rat-like animal’ just might be the reason for power outages at a critical Japanese nuclear facility this week. The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant suspects such a critter of causing a short circuit in a switchboard that led to a power outage, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.”

Not only rats but even other animals sometimes damage the cables or interfere with the circuit board and disrupt the power system.  Let’s take a look at the following report which gives us some insight of the animals that are responsible for power outages.

Animals causing power outages in area

May 29, 2012|BY Jeff Bahr

Birds and other animals don’t deliberately cause mayhem. But their actions can knock out power and sometimes even start fires.

  On May 18, a bird’s nest caused a loss of power for 5,000 Northwestern Energy customers in Aberdeen, Warner and Stratford. The nest was built in a transmission substation south of Aberdeen. Northwestern spokesman Tom Glanzer believes the problem was caused by a big piece of twine that birds brought in to build the nest.

 On Monday, an apartment complex in the 1500 block of South Washington Street lost power at 11 a.m., after a squirrel touched a jumper and a grounded object, Glanzer said.

 “It happens all the time,” he said.

 Residents were without power for 35 minutes, Glanzer said.

 Animal behavior can short-circuit transformers. Furry creatures are often the culprit, but not always.

 “We’ve had snakes (get) into the transformer gear and short themselves out,” said Aberdeen fire marshal Mike Thompson.

  Critters can be inadvertent arsonists when they get inside an attic. Those animals might chew on electrical wires until they’re bare, which can lead to trouble.

 The culprits could be raccoons or mice, but squirrels are very adept at getting into attics. “They’re always looking for a nice place to live,” said Aberdeen Animal Control Officer John Weaver.

  Problems also occur on power lines. Danger results when a bird or other creature touches two lines simultaneously.

  “A squirrel can run on a power line all day long and he’s fine, but if he touches two lines at the same time, he’s going to get electrocuted and may cause an outage” or fire, said Ken Dulik, who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Sand Lake.

   A bird with a wingspan of five or six feet is in particular danger of electrocution.

  “Obviously, the bigger the bird, the bigger the hazard, because it’s easier for them to touch two lines at the same time,” Dulik said.

   Every once in a great while, a bird’s nest can cause a fire.

   About three years ago, a nest built above a light fixture started a fire outside an Aberdeen home. The damage was mostly “just exterior damage to the siding,” Thompson said.

  Sometimes, damage is the result of burrowing. A mole or pocket gopher, digging into the ground looking for roots, might chew on an electrical wire and disrupt power, Weaver said.

  In their battle to get inside, critters can be persistent. To keep animals out of the house, homeowners should check their attics, soffit boards, gable ends and vent openings, Thompson said.

  Usually, animals find an opening where the wood has rotted out, or they’re on the roof “prying on stuff and manage to make an opening to get in,” Thompson said.

 Many animals try to gain entrance through the window well.

 Weaver has extracted from window wells skunks, raccoons, woodchucks, mink, weasels, rabbits and frogs, as well as muskrats “by the bucketful. I don’t know what it is with muskrats and window wells, but they just seem to love them.”

  The only snakes in this area, Weaver says, are garter snakes and bullsnakes.

  Garter snakes, he stresses, are our friends. “But tell that to someone who’s got a garter snake in their basement,” he said.

  If your house is damaged by animals, you’re going to have to pay for it yourself.

 Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute says that losses due to vermin are not covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

  As part of his job, Dulik works with power companies to prevent or fix problems that could lead to the death of migratory birds.

  It can be dangerous out in the country. Dulik remembers a case last year “where a bird got electrocuted and it burned the top of a power pole off.”

images (1) Creatures can cause trouble in the most unexpected ways. A bird or other animal might pick up a still-lit cigarette that was thrown out of a vehicle and drop it somewhere else. “That’s rare, but it can happen,” Thompson said. Damage could be caused by animals that are honored residents of the home. Thompson says people should make sure house pets aren’t chewing on appliance or extension cords. The problem is especially acute if the pets are young puppies and they’re teething. “Whatever they can get in their mouth, they’ll chew on,” he said.
In the last month, North Western Energy customers in the Aberdeeen area have experienced four significant power outages.

 On May 20, 49 customers were without power for an hour and a half near Roosevelt Street. The cause was a bad underground wire, said North Western spokesman Tom Glanzer

The above report says that along with rodents, animals and birds are also responsible for causing power outages. However the number one position is still held by the rodents who have the highest number of power outages attributed to them.

So, one may wonder why these furry animals chew our cables and damage them. One of the most important factors is the intrinsic need of the rodents to chew continually in order to shorten and sharpen their continuously growing incisors. The other factor which attracts the rodents to our cables is the smell of the plasticizers and their color.

UntitledAmong the various reasons of power outage, rodents like squirrels contribute 10-11%, as per the survey conducted by Glendale between 2008 and 2012.

The way to stop rodents from attacking our cables is to make our cables rodent repellent. C Tech Corporation’s Rodrepel™ is the only product which protects the cables from rodents by repelling them. Rodrepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly product which is 100% effective in keeping the rodents away. The product works on the mechanism of repellence and does not kill the target or non-target species. Rodrepel™ can be incorporated in wires and cable polymer during the polymer processing.


Carnage by birds!!

imagesBirds constitute a class of air borne pests that can be quite difficult to contain. The obvious reason being their huge number and the fact that they are practically inaccessible to humans. Their envious ability to fly can invoke a sense of sheer helplessness considering the amount of damage they do on the ground.

Pest birds cause tens of millions of dollars in damage every year to buildings, machinery, automobiles, roofs, ventilation systems and much more. Bird droppings and nesting materials which are allowed to accumulate pose a host of physical problems which can become very serious if they are not corrected immediately. Bird droppings are very acidic in nature. They actually eat away at many substrates, especially tar-based roofing materials. Droppings which are allowed to accumulate on roofs will eat into the material and eventually cause leaks. The life expectancy of a warehouse roof can be cut in half by just a light, but continuous, application of bird droppings. The accumulation of pigeon droppings caused a gas station canopy to collapse in Arizona in 2008.

Pigeon, starling and sparrow nests are 2often built in rain gutters, drains and corners of roofs where drains are located. Several warehouses every year experience great damage, even collapsed roofs. A collapsed roof that resulted in death or great physical damage could put a company out of business. Acidic bird droppings can do great damage to air conditioning equipment, industrial machinery, siding, insulation etc. Not only is the equipment damaged, but workers are exposed to dangerous health-risks any time they work on or around the machinery. Pigeons have been known to enter attics of houses, apartments, restaurants and other buildings through openings that have been either broken or never sealed off in the first place. In most cases the pigeons set up homes in these protected areas, build nests and discard their bodily waste.

airBird populations cause an estimated annual loss of $100 million to U.S. agriculture, according to Charles Lee, an Extension wildlife specialist at Kansas State University. Blackbirds, grackles, and crows often feed on developing ears in corn fields following pollination early in the grain filling period. They seem particularly attracted to developing kernels near the so-called milk stage or “roasting ear” stage.  Large flocks of these birds can cause a tremendous amount of damage and will often target one hybrid over another. Damage is often most prevalent along field edges and nearby wooded areas, but can extend throughout a large field.  Such bird feeding damage predisposes the ears to the development of various ear molds and rots, some of which may subsequently lead to the development of dangerous mycotoxins. Average 10% ear damage throughout a field is associated with an estimated 5,000 birds. The thought of so many birds in one field brings back bad childhood memories of watching Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1963 horror movie “The Birds”!

The bird problem is a universal one. The people of a town in Australia report of the sulphur-crested cockatoos of Potts Point, which have caused more than $40,000 in damage to one building alone and are absolutely incorrigible. These birds the residents say have damaged many of the homes which are heritage-listed as well as art-deco buildings. The extent of bird nuisance is demonstrated by a court order in Venice, Europe that bans tourists as well as localites from feeding pigeons at the St. Mark square. This order goes well against the customs and traditions of this region, but officials say they were forced to take this radical step as the feeding resulted into an increased bird population which culminated in increased damage to heritage structures by the avian. Bird activity damage is not restricted to our surroundings alone; in some cases it has a direct effect on humans also.  There have been reports about a certain seemingly harmless but potentially vicious bird called “magpie” attacking humans. There are numerous videos of actual incidents posted online of the same. There was a recent report of a little girl who was blinded and scarred for life after being attacked by a magpie. The mother was quoted as saying that the vicious bird swooped in out of nowhere and attacked the girl and her friend as they were crossing the street. The resulting panic just instigated the magpie to attack them more aggressively. The attack inflicted permanent damage to her cornea resulting in permanent blindness in one eye.

Apart from the danger they pose to heritage structures by defacing them or pecking away at them, birds are responsible for the spread of many diseases. Birds are active vectors of potentially deadly diseases like bird flu also called avian influenza as bird are the prime hosts of this virus. Not only bird flu, birds and their droppings can carry over 60 diseases many of them airborne and can be transferred to humans by just being in the vicinity of bird droppings. Some of the diseases spread by birds are Histoplasmosis- a respiratory disease, Candidiasis- yeast or fungus infection spread by pigeons which affects the skin and mouth, Cryptococcosis which may affect the central nervous system, etc.

Lastly birds pose a grave danger to flights. There have been uncountable incidents of flights being damaged, grounded, due to bird collision in mid air. Flocks of birds have been blamed for scores of small-plane crashes and at least two major U.S. aviation disasters. Birds can often get sucked into engines on takeoff, disabling the planes and forcing pilots to make emergency landings or crash, experts say. In both 2011 and 2012 more than 2,200 bird strike reports were recorded by the CAA. The figures include both minor incidents and those in which aircraft sustained some damage.

To sum it up, these beautiful unattainable creatures of flight don’t paint a rosy picture when it comes to their relationship with humans. They cause millions in damage by various means. Moreover they are difficult to contain because of the simple fact that they are not on the same level as we are, literally speaking. The methods adopted earlier to contain them include use of nets; nylon nets especially can kill a bird. This therefore shouldn’t be our method of choice while dealing with them as some of these birds are classified as endangered species. The proper way of dealing with them would be to repel them and thus keep them away from our houses, heritage structures, crops, and planes. Rodrepel™ a product of C Tech Corporation does just the same. Rodrepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, eco-friendly rodent and bird aversive. It is available in lacquer form which can be used to paint on wood as well as metal. It works on the mechanism of repellence and drives the birds away. Thus it can be applied on the heritage structures to discourage any bird activity near it. It is also available in the form of polymer additive masterbatch which can be incorporated in agricultural films used in agriculture. This would ensure that the crops are protected from birds.




Exquisite antlers ravage fields!!

 “Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own”

deerAgriculture, one of the oldest occupations practiced- worldwide has a paramount importance in our lives. When our nomadic ancestors began to settle and grow their own food, human society was forever changed. Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, could not ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food was to risk malnutrition and starvation.

Owing to the advent of industrial revolution, there was modernization in agriculture which led to increase in production. Despite the increased production, agriculture is under as great a threat as ever from its age old enemy i.e. pests. Apart from this agriculture has to suffer due to activities of wild stock and other animals like deer and raccoons. Wildlife damage to field crops is a widespread concern in the United States, especially in Midwestern states, and the assessment and control of wildlife damage to crops has become an important component of wildlife management. It was estimated that wildlife-related economic losses to agricultural producers (farmers and ranchers) in the United States exceed $4.5 billion annually.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) which was once considered an endangered species has now flourished to great lengths. The increase in deer population has been accompanied by a decrease in crop acreage. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are thought to be the most common wildlife species that routinely damage agricultural crops. White-tailed deer damage agricultural crops, often leading to significant economic losses for farmers. Early in the growing season, deer will sometimes feed on the whorls or tops of young plants in mid- to late June when the immature tassel down in the whorl is 4 to 6 inches long. Rather than actually eating the whorl leaves, the deer are apparently drawn to the succulent, moist immature tassel. The result is decapitated plants whose young whorl leaves have simply been pulled out and the tassel somehow chewed out and eaten. The mostly intact whorl leaves are left behind on the ground along with the tell-tale evidence of hoof prints and deer scat.

Deer have a soft spot for corn and soybeans in particular!!

Deer feed on corn sparingly after the milk stage until the crop matures. Stalks are more easily knocked down during this period and deer will feed readily on kernels, on the cob and those on the ground. While stalks are on the ground deer may scrape the ear along its length using its bottom incisors. At maturity, some corn plants have reddening of leaves and/or the stalk.

Corn plants with purple-colored stalks in August –September often are indicative of damage caused by deer. Deer will readily scrape kernels off the cobs of mature corn plants, generally causing little or no physical damage to the corn stalk. Removal of kernels after maturity results in red cobs. Damage caused earlier in the growing season results in dirty brown cobs. Complaints from farmers whose crops are eaten by deer have been increasing steadily.

The common symptoms resulting from deer feeding on corn at this stage of development are “topless” plants and decapitated ears. The ear symptoms are sometimes mistaken for bird damage, but differ because of the distinct appearance of “cut” husks and missing ends of cobs resulting from the deer chomping” off the ends of the ears.Deer damage to plants or ears of corn during the grain filling period often encourages disease infection of the damaged plant tissue by common smut spores. This disease eventually develops into the ugly mass of fungal tissue on damaged plant parts.

cornDeer relish young soybeans almost as much as kids love ice cream. And with deer populations exploding in many states, that’s no small problem. In fact, some Southern states farmers have thrown in the towel and quit raising soybeans on fields that were hardest hit. There has been severe deer pressure on soybeans in some parts of the state because soybeans are a preferred food by deer.

In a statewide survey conducted by Clemson University, crop producers reported that 70% of their 1991 soybean acreage was damaged to some extent by deer. Based on the reported acreage and degree of damage, it was estimated that deer damage cost soybean producers in South Carolina more than $7.8 million in 1991.

As reported by this article researchers have gone to the extent of calling soybean as the “perfect deer food”!!

Farmer fear: soybeans called ‘perfect deer food’


Posted on May 2, 2013

As the state’s farmers prepare for spring planting, an ongoing research project is taking a look at how deer affect soybean crops in agricultural states like Illinois. It is already known that deer eat millions of pounds of crops – and soybeans tend to be the most popular entree on a deer’s menu.

Soybeans mean big antlers on deer, one researcher pointed out.

“It’s no coincidence that in Illinois, Iowa or other states with huge soybean acreages they grow a lot of big deer,” Bronson Strickland, associate extension professor with the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, said.

“It’s no secret that deer love soybeans,” Strickland added. “Soybeans are the perfect deer food – there’s nothing better than soybean plants from the standpoint of palatability, digestibility and food protein.

If there is any plant that’s designed for deer to love and to thrive on, it’s soybeans. For those who want to cultivate a deer population, there’s nothing better for food plots than soybeans.”

The soybean-deer relationship is all too familiar with Illinois farmers. As the state’s deer population exploded in the 1990s and 2000s, more and more farmers experienced extensive crop damage caused by feeding and grazing deer.

For that reason, farmers became big fans of the state’s deer hunters.

When soybean prices began to rise at the end of the last decade – pushing up over the $12 per bushel range, where they currently remain – and farmers began to realize the value of the commodity deer were eating, they became even bigger fans of hunters.

All of this followed a study commissioned by the Illinois Natural History Survey about the relationship between deer hunters and farmers.

Mark Alessi, Human Dimensions research coordinator for the INHS, teamed with other researchers to compile a study on Illinois farmers’ perceptions of deer and their relationship with deer hunters.

The study was conducted in 2011 and followed similar studies in 1982 and 1990.

Among the findings was the fact that a majority of hunters enjoy having deer on their property – until they start to notice damage to their crops caused by those deer.

“About 70 percent say, ‘yes, we love deer’ but that changes when the corn gets eaten,” Alessi noted.

Perceptions have changed since the 1982 study, mostly because the state’s deer herd has grown over the 30-year period.

In the research under way at Mississippi State, the goal is to estimate where in fields deer damage is occurring and how it changes over time.

“We want to quantify the relationship between soybean damage and the number of deer eating beans in a particular field,” Strickland said. “Secondarily, we want to determine how the number of deer relates to the size of the field, how far into the field damage occurs, and how much damage occurs at various spots.”

Strickland said researchers on the project are actually counting the number of deer browsing in each field, using infrared devices that detect the deer heat signature. Student technicians sit in the study fields from sundown until midnight, continually sweeping the fields with the infrared devices and counting the number of deer.

“The deer stand out like a sore thumb,” he said. “It’s also easy to distinguish the difference between deer and feral pigs, which also cause significant soybean damage in the south.”

The study also is examining how deer impact varies from the field border to the middle of the field. Timing of the deer “soybean buffet” is also part of the study.

The Illinois Farm Bureau keeps a close eye on wildlife issues as they affect the state’s farmers.

“The Farm Bureau supports hunting and trapping, and we have policies on wildlife management,” Nancy Erickson, natural resources director for the IFB, said in response to the INHS study’s release last year. “Our members do enjoy wildlife. But they are also trying to make a living and help feed the world. It gets to a point, when crops and property are damaged, something has to be done.”

Farmers in the INHS survey estimated deer caused about $1,500 per capita worth of damage to their property. That damage estimate was formulated before the spike in market prices for soybeans.

Given the extent of damage these apparently harmless creatures cause economically, there is a need for urgent action to be taken in this regards. Killing these creatures should not be the solution that we are looking for. C Tech Corporation has come up with a unique solution to this problem. Rodrepel™ a product of C Tech Corporation is a non-toxic, non-hazardous animal and rodent aversive. It works by the mechanism of repellence and is thus effective in driving deer and such animals away from our precious corn and soybeans. Rodrepel®™ can be applied in the form of lacquer on wooden fences surrounding the fields. It can also be incorporated in irrigation piping and hosing in the form of polymer masterbatch at the time of processing.












Rats Under Cover!!

imagesDuring the time of cold winter people just switch on their heater in order to keep them and their house warm and comfortable. But the animals and other species are left outside to fend for themselves. Such animals who are left in open often have to find creative solution to be warm and cozy. The dogs and cats have a tendency to find shelter for themselves without disturbing the people around. But rats being notorious for having luxuries at the expense of humans always turn towards the human belonging. They shelter themselves under the hood in the car and sitting there jobless they tend to chew the car wiring to sharpen their teeth. Below is the recent article which gives us the proof of car breakdown caused due to a small rat.

Rodents find new car wiring tasty

Has the push to go green gone too far? 

automotive_rodent_damage_injector_harnessThat may be the case when it comes to the wiring in our cars, trucks, and SUV’s.  It turns out a new type of environmentally friendly wiring may be too friendly to animals.

No Start, Wiring on Driveway

Woody and Mary Herald couldn’t figure out why their Buick Lucerne suddenly wouldn’t run.

“I got in it,” she said, “and it would just click click and would not start!”

automotive_rodent_damage_under_hood_insulationSo her husband popped the hood, looked around, and on the ground underneath spotted a chewed off wiring harness.

“On the ground is this connector with 6 inches of wire on either end of it,” Herald said,”that the varmints had chewed in 2 completely.”

New Wiring Tasty to Rodents 
It turns out a number of car brands have wiring that is tasty to rodents, according toConnecticut Watchdog, Car Talk 
 , and a number of automotive blogs.

Mechanic Marc Dueubber of Duebber’s Automotive in Cincinnati’s Delhi Township says many automakers have moved to biodegradable, soy based wiring insulation in the past 10 years. It won’t last forever in landfills, like older plastic wiring.

automotive_rodent_damage_fuel_pump_harnessIt’s great for the environment, but even better for hungry mice and squirrels.

“They are drawn to it, therefore they are chewing and eating it,” Duebber said. “And we are finding nests created in the upper plenums (fresh air intakes).”

He showed an air filter that mice recently turned into a nest, using bits of wiring insulation.

What You Can Do

Some automakers are responding.  Honda dealers now sell rolls of anti rodent tape for wires, that can be used on any car, not just Hondas.

“There are some products you can put there as a rodent deterrent,” Duebber said.

Mary and Woody Herald bought a product called Rodent Repellent, for use under the hood.  They have also put bits of mothballs around the wiring, just to be sure.

They say they simply wish they had been warned, before their $400 repair.

“They want to go green but they should warn the public,” Mary Herald said.
If you suspect a critter has gotten under the hood of your car, you need to take action immediately, because he will be back. And he may bring his friends and family next time. 

As always, don’t waste your money. 

Well, spending $400 for the repairs and that to with the guarantee that the rat will return back and may even be accompanied by his friends and family to cause more wreckage is no laughing matter. So now it is high time that we look for the solutions which will ensure that the rats cannot damage the wiring.

C Tech Corporation has come up with a solution called Rodrepel®™ which will put people at ease by protecting their cars from the likes of rats. Rodrepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly aversive and repels all rodents as well as birds. It is an anti-rodent additive for masterbatches specially developed for a range of polymeric and coating applications including films, wires and cables. It also available in the lacquer and solution form which can be coated on the surface to keep the rodents at bay.


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