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Get rid of rapidly reproducing rodents with a rat contraceptive

If you see one rat on the farm, rest assured there are a lot more.

Once a female starts reproducing, she can have 15,000 descendants within her year-long lifespan. Rats reproduce faster than lethal means can eliminate them.

SenesTech, an Arizona company, has developed a new solution — birth control for rats that will stop the rodents from ever having grandkids.

SenesTech CEO Ken Siegel says its EPA-registered rat contraceptive, ContraPest, “is like a rat milkshake."

"It’s a liquid product; it is very tasty. Rats actually love it. It’s deployed in a conventional bait station that’s only accessible to rats. They drink it and, in the case of both males and female rats, they become incapable of reproducing, an effect that lasts for 50 to 70 days,” says Siegel. “A rat actually lives for around one year, but that effect, as long as they continue to consume it, stays for the rest of their lives.”

A Natural Die-Off

When the “rat milkshake” is first deployed in a situation, keep in mind the rodents won’t all be the same age. The half-life of a rat population is about six months.

“You’ll start seeing the reduction in two to three months. But where you really start to see it tail off is as the deaths begin to significantly outpace the births,” says Siegel.

During its testing period over the past five years, the contraceptive has reduced rat populations in a wide variety of urban and agricultural settings.

For example, ContraPest was used for 12 months at a pullet farm in Florida. By combining it with the farm’s existing pest management program, Siegel says the number of juvenile rats was reduced by nearly 100% and pullet survival improved by 88%.The economic impact was significant as well. 

He says the pullet farm had $600,000 in increased profits due to reduced predation on the baby chicks, reduced grain consumption and contamination, and reduced damage to infrastructure on the farm.

Accelerate the Rat Downfall

The rat reduction is accelerated by combining ContraPest with conventional pest control methods, which help with the initial knockdown.

“You can use your poisons, you can use trapping, you can use fumigants, all the various other pieces,” says Siegel. “You also need to focus on exclusion, removing refuse, etc., and then ContraPest will take those results and dramatically improve them. The critical difference is that once the population goes down, as long as you continue to use ContraPest, the population won’t come back. You can eventually wean yourself off of the more toxic solutions.”

ContraPest is EPA approved and available in all 50 states. It is nontoxic and nonlethal and will not harm other animals, pets, or people.

Listen to the interview here.

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