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Subject: Pest monitoring

Pest monitoring

From: Michael Trinkley <chicora>
Date: Friday, March 5, 1999
Ms Trupin inquires about monitoring alternatives to deal with staff
complaints that they are catching small snakes and that mice are
dragging the traps through the rooms.

First, I would explain to the staff that the snakes on traps can be
taken outside and freed using a small quantity of vegetable oil
(which will dissolve the adhesive). And, since traps, under the
apparent conditions described, should be monitored daily, the snakes
should survive quite nicely.

Second, since it seems likely that you are "catching" hatchling
snakes (perhaps someone in Natural History can tell me if that is
the correct term), I wonder if you could also reorganize the
locations you monitor, to avoid those areas where you seem to have

Both suggestions, of course, are based on my personal belief that
you really don't want to trap the snakes -- they are most likely
there because you do have some sort of rodent problem. If you allow
the snakes free run you may ultimately help resolve the second
problem--that of the mice dragging traps through the rooms and

However, until the snakes grow up and begin their own form of
integrated pest management, perhaps you could vary the type of trap
you use. For example, you could use a low-line trap that is less
likely to allow access to a rodent. Or you could use a zone monitor,
whose adhesive is less sticky and probably wouldn't entrap a rodent.
Or you could use a larger sticky trap, designed for rodents and
attach the traps so when they catch a rodent, the trap can't be drug

In other words, the conditions being described suggest to me that
monitoring is even more--not less--critical. Like in all monitoring
situations you simply have to make the program fit the needs of the
specific institution and its circumstances.

Michael Trinkley, Ph.D.
Chicora Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 8664
Columbia, SC  29202

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:72
                   Distributed: Monday, March 8, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-72-003
Received on Friday, 5 March, 1999

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