Poisons offer a cost effective approach for reducing medium to heavy infestations of rabbits.
These poisons are slow acting poisons which have a cumulative effect requiring rabbits to consume several applications of treated bait to accumulate a lethal dose. Chronic poisons are usually anticoagulant types which inhibit the clotting ability of the blood causing the rabbits to gradually lose energy and die. Chronic poisons are safe to handle and an operator's licence is not required as yet. A Controlled Substances Licence will be required for ground laid Pindone Pellet bait as of April 2007.
Pindone is the most common chronic poison used in the Bay of Plenty. Rabbits are particularly susceptible to Pindone while non-target species such as dogs (5-6 times), birds, stock and humans (100 times) are significantly more resistant.
Vitamin K1, available from your vet, is an effective antidote for pets with suspected poisoning.
Pindone is safe, effective and easy to use for rabbit control, including in urban areas, providing all instructions are carefully followed. Pindone pellets are available in 2 kg, 10 kg and 25 kg bags. Only enough Pindone to complete the job should be purchased as the product has a shelf life of 6-8 months. Heavy dew or rain will affect the palatability of the bait. Two applications will be required. Pindone is also available in liquid form which is applied to carrots.
These poisons are fast acting and will kill rabbits after a single dose. Acute poisons are potentially hazardous and a Controlled Substances Licence is necessary for their use (see Poison Licences). Several pre-feeds of non-toxic bait are required before a single application of poisoned bait is laid. Two types of acute poisons are currently used for the control of rabbit infestations in the Bay of Plenty:
- Phosphorus rabbit bait is available in 0.5% w/w paste.
- 500g tubes or 20 litre buckets may be purchased from Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
- Non-toxic pre-feed is also available.
- Phosphorus is relatively inexpensive and effective for controlling small areas of infestation.
- Phosphorus bait must be laid on spits (see Application).
- Phosphorus is best used during the cooler months to avoid dehydration of paste.
Dogs are highly susceptible to 1080. 1080 is available as a prepared pellet or paste bait or as a solution mixed with natural baits. At present only DoC, MAF and regional council employees, along with some Pest Control Contractors are licensed to use 1080.
- Use fresh uncontaminated bait as rabbits are selective feeders.
- Baits should be laid in predetermined feeding areas.
- Ensure that all areas containing rabbit sign are treated with bait.
- Apply more bait lines and more bait rather than less in order to achieve a high success rate.
This is the easiest and most common method of bait application and involves scattering the pellet or carrot baits by hand from a vehicle.
Contrary to what you might expect spits are sods of upturned earth to which the bait is applied. The smell of freshly turned earth apparently attracts rabbits. This method is labour intensive. Spits are evenly spaced along lines with around 250-350 m of line per hectare depending on infestation levels. The bait can be buried by turning the spits back over again if livestock are returning to the target area. 5-15 carrot baits or a single 5 ml paste bait should be applied per spit.
Aerial application can be more effective for large areas with high rabbit infestation levels and/or where access is difficult. Top-dressing planes or helicopters are normally employed to apply the baits.
Bait stations can be used in areas where it is undesirable to have poison baits lying around. Bait stations need to be positioned in rabbit feeding areas. Bait stations are designed to:
- safeguard non-target animals eg humans and dogs
- provide bait protection from adverse weather
- not deter target animals
Greengard Bait Stations meet the above criteria.
Greengard Bait Stations are available from Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Being Safe With Rabbit Poisons
- Ensure all containers are labelled with correct handling and storage instructions, poison symptoms, and first aid treatment.
- Read and understand the instructions before use.
- Keep poisons locked away in a separate location to possible contaminants.
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Dispose of any poison containers according to instructions.
- Warn the public of poisoning operations.
Applications for a licence to use controlled pesticides can be made to the NZ Food Safety Authority (www.foodsafety.govt.nz, phone 04 463 2550). Applicants must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Have completed an examination set by the NZFSA have received practical instruction, on how to apply and safely use the pesticides for which the licence is sought.
- Satisfy the NZFSA that he/she is sufficiently responsible to be entrusted to use a controlled pesticide.
For more information
Contact a pest animal officer on the details below.
See Fact Sheet PA05 - Use of poisons to control rabbits.