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    STP680

    Evaluation of Nonlethal Electrical Barriers for Crop Protection Against Rodent Damage

    Published: 0


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    Abstract

    Three methods are described for evaluating the efficacy of nonlethal electrical barriers in reducing damage to growing rice by Philippine rice-field rats (Rattus rattus mindanensis). First, a laboratory observation method was used to observe ana count individual rat behavior as the animals attempted to traverse different barrier configurations to get to food. Second, a semifield-test method was used with small groups of rats in 9-m2 enclosures where small areas containing food were fenced off by nonlethally charged barriers; the rat activity and feeding were monitored over 42 days. This method of evaluation allowed for social interactions that could either enhance or detract from the effectiveness of the barriers. Third, two small-scale field trials were undertaken in Philippine rice plantings to confirm the effectiveness of this damage control method. The first trial compared rat activity and damage in un|protected plots with that in plots protected by nonlethal electrical barriers. The second trial compared rat activity and damage in plots protected by lethal versus nonlethal electrical barriers. This field test method was found to be the most useful of the three, since direct measurements of crop damage reduction could be made. The prototype nonlethal barrier developed with these test methods was found to have several advantages over lethal barriers now in use, including safety, lower labor costs, and a longer battery life of the fence chargers.

    Keywords:

    vertebrate pest control, rat, fence charger, rodent damage, crop protection, electric fence, Rattus rattus mindanensis, Philippines, rice


    Author Information:

    Shumake, SA
    Research psychologist and electronics engineer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo

    Kolz, AL
    Research psychologist and electronics engineer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo

    Reidinger, RF
    Research physiologist and research biologist, U.S. Agency for International Development Programs, National Crop Protection Center, College, LagunaDenver Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo

    Fall, MW
    Research physiologist and research biologist, U.S. Agency for International Development Programs, National Crop Protection Center, College, LagunaDenver Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo


    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.17

    DOI: 10.1520/STP34957S