Tired of visiting your trapline twice a week all year round? Why not try pulsing?
What is pulsing
Keeping traps set all year round requires dedication in our busy lives. Here comes ANJA to the rescue. We focus on four pulses each year: August, November, January and April. Keeping our traps set in these four months each year is most effective based on their reproductive cycle.
Pulsing strikes a balance between maximum effectiveness and volunteer fatigue. It can be nearly as effective as continuous control if carried out with high enough intensity and coordinated over a wide area. In the case of using poison bait, it also reduces toxicity in the environment.
Community groups will usually find it is easier to get publicity for pulsing campaigns, than for continuous ones. A continuous campaign stops being ‘newsworthy’ after about the first month, but local media will often continue to report each pulse starting.
Pulsing must be timed to coincide across a large area, otherwise pests from the areas where the pulse wasn’t carried out will re-invade the areas where it was. For example, pulsing is unlikely to be effective in an isolated property.
The ideal times to carry out pulsing are widely agreed to be August, November, January and April – an acronym commonly referred to as ANJA.
August At the end of winter there is less food available, so baits and lures are more attractive simply because there are fewer alternatives on offer. Trap boxes and bait stations provide shelter too. While the absolute catch numbers may be low compared to April, this is the pulse with the biggest impact on the relative rat population. At the same time this helps cutting down the rat population before they start breeding in earnest, and prior to native wildlife starting to breed in spring.
April Rat population is typically the highest towards the end of summer. Which makes is more likely to catch higher numbers.
Nov / Jan Rats start reproducing at the age of 3-5 months. Having four pulses per year ensures each rat has a chance to find a trap or bait station before they breed. in practice, many volunteers are on holiday at the beginning of January, so timing your pulse from mid-January to mid-February may suit your volunteers better.