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Methods of Destroying Rats Farmers' Bulletin 297   By:

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Issued May 31, 1907.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

FARMERS' BULLETIN 297.

METHODS OF DESTROYING RATS.

BY

DAVID E. LANTZ,

Assistant, Bureau of Biological Survey .

[Illustration]

WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 1907.

[Transcriber's Note: Words surrounded by tildes, like ~this~ signifies words in bold. Words surrounded by underscores, like this , signifies words in italics.]

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, BUREAU OF BIOLOGICAL SURVEY, Washington, D. C., May 15, 1901 .

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith for publication Farmers' Bulletin No. 297, containing concise directions for the destruction of rats, prepared by David E. Lantz, an assistant in this Bureau. The damage done by these rodents, both in cities and in the country, is enormous, and the calls for practical methods of destroying them are correspondingly numerous and urgent. It is believed that by following the directions here given the numbers of this pest can be greatly reduced and the losses from them proportionally diminished.

Respectfully,

C. HART MERRIAM, Chief, Biological Survey .

HON. JAMES WILSON, Secretary of Agriculture .

CONTENTS. Page.

Introduction 3

Methods of destroying rats 4

Poisoning 4 Trapping 5 Use of ferrets and dogs 6 Fumigation 7

Rat proof construction 7

Natural enemies of rats 8

Conclusions 8

ILLUSTRATION. Page.

FIG. 1. Method of baiting guillotine trap 6

METHODS OF DESTROYING RATS.

INTRODUCTION.

The brown or Norway rat ( Mus norvegicus ) is the worst mammal pest in the United States, the losses from its depredations amounting to many millions of dollars yearly to more, indeed, than the losses from all other injurious mammals combined.[A] In addition to its destructive habits, this rat is now known to be an active agent in disseminating infectious diseases, a fact which renders measures for its destruction doubly important.

[Footnote A: Several species of rats are known as "house rats," including the black rat ( Mus rattus ), the roof rat ( Mus alexandrinus ), and the brown rat ( Mus norvegicus ). Of these, the last is the commonest and most widespread in this country. Not one of these species is a native, but all were imported from the Old World. As their habits in general are similar, the instructions given in the bulletin apply alike to all.]

Introduced into America about the year 1775, the brown rat has supplanted and nearly exterminated its less robust relative, the black rat, and despite the incessant warfare of man has extended its range and steadily increased in numbers. Its dominance is due to its great fecundity and its ability to adapt itself to all sorts of conditions. It breeds three or four times a year and produces from 6 to 12, and even more, young at a litter. Young females breed when only 4 or 5 months old. The species is practically omnivorous, feeding upon all kinds of animal and vegetable matter. It makes its home in the open field, the hedge row, and the river bank, as well as in stone walls, piers, and all kinds of buildings. It destroys grains when newly planted, while growing, and in the shock, stack, mow, crib, granary, mill, elevator, or ship's hold, and also in the bin and feed trough. It invades store and warehouse and destroys fur, laces, silks, carpets, leather goods, and groceries. It attacks fruits, vegetables, and meats in the markets, and destroys by pollution ten times as much as it actually eats. It carries disease germs from house to house and bubonic plague from city to city. It causes disastrous conflagrations; floods houses by gnawing lead water pipes; ruins artificial ponds and embankments by burrowing; destroys the farmers' pigs, eggs, and young poultry; eats the eggs and young of song and game birds; and damages foundations, floors, doors, and furnishings of dwellings... Continue reading book >>




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