Efficacy of Ekomille® in the management of house mouse, Mus musculus Linnaeus, in wheat facilities in Southern Italy
Abstract: Mus musculus Linnaeus cause significant direct and indirect damages to wheat. The damages begin already in the field to continue along the food chain. Especially in non-conditioned stored facilities, rodent population density could reach very high levels. In the present study are reported field trials carried out to evaluate a non-toxic system, Ekomille® traps, in rodent management programs. Ekomille® trap is an electromechanical and ecological system for capture of mice and rats. The trap is baited with toxic-free natural foods and it is able to capture over than 80 rodents. We selected a wheat facilities situated in Altamura (Southern Italy), 20 silos, 30.000 tons stored, that presents a very high population of M. musculus. Before Ekomille® disposal, deratization was made with rodenticides in many types of formulations. However, has been recognized a large number of sightings of mice, especially under the wheat elevators and have been recorded extensive damages to the electrical systems. From the beginning of June 2011, 20 Ekomille® baited with natural foods (sunflower seeds, pine nuts and pork fat) were placed in the wheat facilities, 4 nearby elevator base, 4 nearby electrical substation, 4 in the second line of defence around silos platform and 8 in the first line of defence along the external perimeter. Traps have been checked weekly during the first month and thereafter every two weeks. From the beginning of June 2011 to the end of May 2012, 354 house mice were captured. After trap use, a drastic reduction of presence of mice and damage caused by rodent activity was observed. These positive results indicate that use of Ekomille® trap for rodents control is a valid component of an IPM-based control strategy. In IPM programs, the employ of these traps can lead to drastic reductions of chemical treatments, resulting in economic benefits and improvements for food safety and quality.