To comply with rigid organic standards, pest management in organic farm production relies on methods that will cause no harm whatsoever to wildlife or the environment. This means that chemical pesticides – including insecticides and rodenticides – are forbidden from use. Instead, alternative methods are deployed to control pest populations.
If left unchecked, pests such as rats and mice will cause a myriad of problems for an organic farm. They will consume growing plants, feed for animals, gnaw through structural, mechanical and electrical materials and contaminate finished products, leaving them unfit for sale and human consumption.
With so many threats to profitability and reputation, pest management in organic farm production is a pressing concern for all in the industry.
However, since toxic chemicals are not an option for organic farmers, other methods of population control must be deployed.
So, how are pests controlled in organic farms?
Pest Management in Organic Farm Production: 5 Essential Tips
1. Proofing and Exclusion
One of the most effective long-term solutions to rodent problems in barns, storage areas and other buildings is to rodent-proof each structure. This is not easy.
Both rats and mice can squeeze through very small gaps – about the width of a thumb in the case of rats and a pencil in the case of mice. Nonetheless, in order to be effective, rodent-proofing must block off all potential entry points.
A thorough site survey should be conducted by a pest control specialist to identify all possible openings and a plan put in place to seal each one.
The seals will then need to be routinely checked and maintained to ensure they hold strong and ensure the ongoing exclusion of rodents.
2. Good Cleaning and Clearing Practices
The next step for effective pest management in organic farm production is to take measures to deter pests. Rats and mice are wild animals. They are attracted to sources of food, water and shelter.
Good cleaning and clearing practices should therefore be deployed to eliminate food, water and nesting materials from the site. Farms should regularly clean up all debris, rubbish, packaging, waste and vegetation and dispose of it in sealed containers.
Any feed or other organic matter should also be stored in rodent-proof containers. Old machinery or equipment, which can act as hiding and nesting places for rodents, should also be removed.
Water sources, including leaking pipes and taps, must be repaired.
Best practice is to employ the services of a pest control specialist to put together an action plan for removing all materials and items that may attract and harbour pests.
The professional pest control company will also take measures to reduce the population of rodents that may already be present at the organic farm without adverse impact to non-target species, other wildlife and the environment.
Trapping is one of the most effective and economical methods in this regard. The pest control specialist will identify the best locations to set the traps for the most effective outcomes.
4. Regular Monitoring for Pest Activity
If precautionary measures such as proofing and hygiene are rigorously implemented, the chances of infestation will be significantly reduced.
However, it is important that regular monitoring for pest activity takes place. This will ensure that any signs of infestation or re-infestation are spotted early and pest control specialists can deal with the matter quickly.
Signs of rodent infestation include droppings and urine stains in and around buildings. Live or dead animals may also be sighted. If so, may be a sign of infestation, as where there is one there will be more.
The site should also be frequently inspected for any gnawing marks on hard materials such as wood, metals and masonry. Shredded soft materials, such as paper, cardboard and food packaging also indicate the presence of rodents.
5. Employ the Services of Pest Control Specialists
The very best and most reliable form of pest management in organic farm production is to work with a professional and experienced pest control company that can deal with the multiple threats farms face.
The company will know exactly how to pest-proof all buildings, how to implement good cleaning and clearing procedures, set traps and identify pest infestations that may already be present.
As part of the contractual service, the company will examine the whole organic farm site, locate any potential entry points and nest areas and create a working and ongoing strategy to control infestations.
Pest Management in Organic Farm Production from Baroque Pest Services
The impact of pests on organic farms can be enormous. However, with such stringent standards to contend with, it’s essential that farm owners and their teams work with reputed pest control professionals that specialise in pest management in organic farm production.
At Baroque Pest Services, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing specialist pest control solutions for organic farms. Our services will ensure your crops, livestock, equipment, machinery, land and property are all protected against the persistent threat of pests in full compliance with organic standards.
Baroque Pest Services serves all kinds of industries including: Bars, Pubs, Cafés, Restaurants, Hotels and B&Bs, as well as Nursing Homes, Factories, Warehouses and Organic Farms.
Contact your local pest control specialist today for a free quotation.
Baroque (SW) Limited was a family business established in October 1988 based in Plymouth. Over 30 years Baroque grew to become the most well-known regional pest control company in the South West of England before joining forces with Safeguard Pest Control in August 2018. As part of the Safeguard family, customers continue to receive exceptional pest control, bird control and washroom services. Every customer is important to us and we take pride in providing a top quality, reliable service. Our emphasis is on serving the customer to the best of our ability and building a long-term relationship of mutual trust and friendship. We have service technicians local to all areas of the South West Counties, so our customers can receive a prompt service from a technician who is familiar with the area and premises. Our experienced office staff are available from 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday to answer any customer queries and give advice.