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EHS Pest Control
Modern Pest

Dry Ice Asphyxiation

Listen to John Stellberger of EHS Pest as he keep down boston's rat population using dry ice. Interviewed by WGBH.

Advantages are many, disadvantaged are none

It's Effective. A high degree of control is achieved on controlling burrowing rats. Some rats in urban environments will not (for various reasons) consume professionally applied poison baits even when they are placed directly into active burrows. When such bait-aversive rats are present and pregnant females, the infestation goes on and on continuing the public health threat and causing all parties frustrations and extending the costs of achieving control.

It's Green. No pesticide exposure to humans, pets and native wildlife is one of the advantages. Dry ice is non-toxic to humans and pets when used according to prescribed for exterior rats on the label. Dry Ice will not contaminate groundwater.

No secondary poisoning. Non-target animals, birds and mammals are not harmed. Raptors, such as hawks and owls, Crows and Ravens and Turkey Vultures will readily consume dead or dying rodents. A domestic dog or cat, or other wildlife predator or scavenger that consumes a rodent with a lethal dose of rodenticide in or on its body could have a serious problem.

It's Humane. Euthanizing animals via carbon dioxide is considered an acceptable humane method by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and this technique, via the use of CO2 chambers, is approved by nearly all states for urban wildlife control (via permits in some states). Carbon dioxide is also utilized in medical laboratories the world over to euthanize millions of lab rats and mice every year in medical research. Dry ice (CO2) is an asphyxiate, not a fumigant. Thus, as per above discussion, it is a humane treatment to the rats themselves. Rats enter slumber first, and then succumb within the slumber without re-awakening.

Vector Control Benefits. During and after the rats die in the burrows, their associated ectoparasites (e.g., fleas, lice, mites, and ticks); many of which are public health disease vectors themselves also succumb to the carbon dioxide eliminating the need for follow-up "insecticidal dusting" campaigns to reduce or eliminate these potential arthropod vectors.

Dry Ice Asphyxiation

What is Carbon Dioxide? It's a naturally occurring inert gas. We excrete it through respiration, plants use it to create chlorophyll, it's the fizz in our soft drinks. Pelletized dry ice goes through sublimation. Sublimation as defined by Wikipedia "the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase without passing through the intermediate liquid phase.

The Brown Rat and Carbon Dioxide

By its nature, the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus is a ground- dwelling rat. Around cities and towns, it commonly burrows into the soil of residential yards, parks, empty lots and the landscapes surrounding a wide variety of commercial buildings such as grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, schools and health care facilities.

In our areas and the older towns and cities of Boston the Norway is a constant challenge to our clients and to us as a pest management company. They invade the soft soils adjacent to old cobble stone streets, within old city parks, private courtyards, tree pits and the mulch beds of yards. Of course, they also invade the typical trash corrals of public picnic and recreation areas and the restaurant alley and food courts, typical of all modern day urban areas. Various earthen areas away from refuse areas such as fruit and nut trees also commonly sustain ground-dwelling rat populations.

Urban Norway rat burrow infestations are most often treated by pest professionals via three approaches: 1) direct burrow baiting; 2) the application of rodenticide tracking powders into the burrows. EHS does neither.

The effectiveness of each of these treatments varies on a case by case basis ranging from a 100% success, to complete failure depending on several factors. What's more, safety considerations play heavily into each approach. For example, if direct burrow baiting applications are not done precisely, baits are often translocated to the surface by the rats. This is a major concern of secondarily poisoning threats to birds, dogs, urban wildlife, and even children.

Of course, safety is also a high concern with the (restricted-use pesticide) tracking powders. Where ever emerging rats go from a "powdered" burrow, before they succumb to the powder several days later, so goes the powder onto the surface an obvious concern for humans, pets and wildlife and any pest professional.

EHS pioneered the use of Dry Ice (CO2) for exterior burrowing Norway rats and started experimenting and effectiveness trials in 2012. The conclusion revealed that dry ice offers superior advantages over the conventional uses of rodenticides for eliminating the public health threat of rat infestations when they occur in earthen spaces away from building foundations.

It's Green, It's Effective, It's Humane, It controls Ectoparasites with no secondary poisoning to wildlife!

Super Service Award 2017