Latest News from BPCA

23 August 2021

The glue board ban in New Zealand

LEGISLATION | PPC104 AUGUST 2021

Ireland, New Zealand and the Australian state of Victoria are regularly cited examples of places that have successfully banned rodent glue boards.

How have professionals in these countries adapted? We asked Peter Barry from the Pest Management Association of New Zealand (PMANZ) to recap the story of their 2015 ban.

The glue board ban in New Zealand BPCA pest control magazine

SPEED VIEW:

  • Concerns raised by animal welfare groups saw glue board use restricted to specified persons or situations, such as food manufacturing premises
  • There was a lack of data on glue board welfare impacts, efficacy and cost-effectiveness
  • Efforts to avoid the loss of glue boards ultimately failed
  • Pest managers have moved on from the loss of glue boards, relying now on remote monitoring or other devices
  • Animal welfare groups will always dislike what pest technicians do, so we need to evolve better ways of working to keep ahead of the game.

In New Zealand, the Animal Welfare (Glueboard Traps) Order 2009 restricted the use of glue boards and banned the sale and use from 1 January 2015.

Glue boards were seen as both a monitoring device and a control method as, for example, are traps. Although glue boards were available for rats and mice, they were mainly used for mice here.

Despite their extensive use worldwide, there was little published information about their efficacy as control or monitoring devices for either rodent species.

Animal welfare groups had raised concerns about their humaneness, leading to restrictions on their use to specified persons, and situations (eg commercial food manufacturing premises), or requirements for ministerial exemptions and their phasing out in New Zealand by the end of 2014. 

Despite their extensive use worldwide, there was little published information about their efficacy as control or monitoring devices for either rodent species.

Between 2009 and the end of 2014, the use of glue boards in New Zealand was restricted to:

  • Commercial pest control operators
  • Persons employed to conduct pest control on food production premises
  • Department of Conservation contractors or employees
  • Boat operators transporting persons or goods to, from, or in close proximity to mammalian-pest-free islands.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) supported the phasing out of glue boards by working with affected users, regulators, and rodent control experts, practitioners and manufacturers to identify and enable the implementation of alternative control techniques.

Discussions were held with the permitted users of glue boards to clarify the situation regarding their use as monitoring and control tools and practitioner views about possible alternatives.

The review revealed that comparing glue boards and alternative devices is complex for both technical and animal welfare reasons.

Firm conclusions about the relative merits of glue boards and alternative devices, and the feasibility of transition to other methods for rodent monitoring and control, are hampered by an absence of quantitative data on welfare impacts, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness.

To address this there needed to be:

  • Better data about numbers of glue boards used and rats and mice captured, including data on multiple captures on single traps, and the fate (alive/dead, injuries) of captured rodents - obtaining this information would require close assistance from the pest control industry
  • Better data about the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of glue boards and alternative methods for rats and mice - this would require trials to assess trapping efficiency and to collect data on operational costs
  • Comparable welfare data on glue boards and other methods/devices for rats and mice - this would require observational assessments under controlled conditions for some devices and a review of existing data
  • Information on the current economic costs of rodent impacts to sectors currently using glue boards - this could be obtained from the sectors concerned
  • Research into new alternatives to glue boards that are acceptable to the industry - this would require assistance from the industry with testing.

Most deployments of glue boards were found to be by registered pest control companies. But there were few data sets on the numbers of rodents caught in the types of premises where glue boards were mostly used.

Firm conclusions about the relative merits of glue boards and alternative devices, and the feasibility of transition to other methods for rodent monitoring and control, are hampered by an absence of quantitative data on welfare impacts, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness.

One study showed that of 1,950 devices set across 26 premises, they caught only 34 mice. We believe MPI concluded in the absence of other data, and if those figures were typical, they suggest the total catch of rodents may have been a few thousand per year.

While a number of meetings and presentations were held during the transition period with MPI by PMANZ and other stakeholders such as Ecolab, Rentokil, Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Department of Conservation and other suppliers to try and avert the impending loss of glue boards, it never succeeded in changing the ultimate banning of glue boards by Animal Welfare and MPI.

In the meantime, single and multi-catch live and kill traps (used with trap covers where applicable) seemed to be the only potential practical alternative for rodent monitoring and control where the use of toxins was not acceptable.

And that was what ultimately started happening, as suppliers and distributors started trialling different kill trap options including the use of remote monitoring to replace glue boards.

Following the prohibition, rodent glue boards could only be used in accordance with a Ministerial approval document from the MPI, containing conditions for use. Approvals normally are granted for no more than one year. An application must be completed.

From this and in conjunction with MPI, PMANZ created a Code of Practice and a Standard Operating Procedure for glue boards and euthanasia of rodents.

glue-board-ban-new-zealand

Where we are now

The use of glue boards has come to a complete stop as indicated by the approvals on the MPI website table shown here. There are no approvals for 2021 so far.

Approvals
Year For use For sale
2015 22 2
2016  9 2
2017  7 2
2018  6 2
2019 4 2
2020 2 2
2021 None so far

Our two biggest pest management companies that service most of NZ’s food supply chain, tell us that they have not had a requirement in 2021 to use glue boards at all, one saying they last used them in 2018.

Pest managers in New Zealand have got over the loss of glue boards and now rely on either remote monitoring or devices such as illustrated above. While some hanker after the ‘good old days’ and lament the loss, they accept it and have moved on.

If anything can be learned from the New Zealand experience, it will be that no matter what pest managers might see as a practical solution to a problem, there will always be an environmental animal group that will see things differently.

Pest managers will have to realise this and evolve to new and better ways of pest management in a rapidly changing world.

Key findings from the New Zealand experience

Large numbers of glue boards (circa 90,000 in 2012/13) continued to be sold in New Zealand since the 2009 restrictions on their sale and use – most of the glue boards sold were for mice infestations.

Glue boards for rodents have two distinct advantages over all other currently available methods: they can be used in places where other devices cannot fit, and they are not prone to false triggering.

No modifications to glue boards were found to be commercially available that are likely to reduce the current welfare impacts of glue boards.

From a technical perspective, enclosed single and multi-catch live and kill traps are potentially suitable alternatives to glue boards for rodent monitoring and control in most situations.

Toxins (baits) are also a suitable alternative to glue boards where toxin use is not restricted, particularly when combined with non-toxic control methods in an integrated control programme.

Source: PPC104

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