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Subject: Geckos


From: Paul Storch <paul.storch>
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 1998
Lydia C. Egunnike <l.egunnike [at] snark__slq__qld__gov__au> writes

>One of our collection areas has become home to a colony of geckos.
>As these little chaps can excrete a white alkaline substance, we are
>obviously concerned. They appear to have set up camp in the false
>ceiling.  Does anyone know how we can get rid of them ? I would
>prefer a humane technique if possible.

I couldn't find any direct information on gecko control in the pest
control literature that I have on hand.  As you might imagine,
geckos and other lizards do not pose much of a museum pest problem
here in Minnesota.  The Handbook of Pest Control, (Mallis, 1990, 7th
edition) has a subchapter on toads and frogs.  Although the geckos
are lizards and not amphibians, most of the control suggestions are
applicable to your problem.  I have dealt with bat colonization in
the attics of several of our historic home sites, and the general
situations and reasons for infestation are comparable.  The geckos
are in the building because it provides food and shelter. Apparently
the main food source of that particular gecko species is also found
in and around that area of the museum.  There is also easy access
into and out of the building for the creatures.

My general suggestions would be the following, if you aren't already
doing them:

    *   Develop an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) for your
        institution which involves the following ongoing steps:

    *   monitor the building for insect species using sticky
        'blunder' traps.  Get the trapped specimens identified by an

    *   Get information from a local herpetologist as to the habitat
        and food requirements for the specific geckos that you are
        dealing with.  It might be useful to have them visit your
        site to observe the problem.  They might be able to give you
        some suggestions for humane trapping and removal.

    *   Once you know the geckos' life-habits (i.e. do they leave
        the building to hunt at night, etc.) you can make the needed
        structural improvements to the building fabric to exclude
        them from the nesting area.  This method works well with

    *   Take low-toxicity measures to control the gecko food sources
        in the building, assuming they are insects.

    *   Find a licensed Pest Control Operator (PCO) in your area who
        is familiar with the IPM approach to pest control and retain
        them on a contract basis to do regular inspections and
        low-toxic perimeter sprayings, if warranted.

    *   Institute "cleaning" rule for food consumption and storage
        in the staff room and other areas of the building, and for
        catered events, if applicable.

To summarize, find out why the geckos are in the collections area;
eliminate the reason(s) that they find the area attractive using no
or low toxic methods; then exclude them from returning.
Simultaneously, institute a holistic IPM approach to pest control
for the entire institution.

Hope this helps.  Feel free to contact me for further information.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:45
               Distributed: Wednesday, November 18, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-45-003
Received on Wednesday, 18 November, 1998

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