BIC Chemical Takes on the Rodent Challenge in Thailand's Agricultural Sector
While Thailand's warm, humid climate, coupled with year-round crop production, makes this southeast Asian nation one of the world's top exporters of agricultural products, these same conditions also create an ideal environment for rodents - a challenge that Bell's Thai distributor, BIC Chemical Co., is meeting with education, training, and Bell products.
Rodent control management, according to Kevin Hawes, International Director for BIC Chemical, is an important part of the Thailand's agricultural and livestock businesses. "The presence of rodents has a substantial economic and health impact on our main customers in the agricultural businesses, such as rice, palm, corn, livestock feed and meat-processing," he pointed out. "Rodents also damage many other parts of our community, such as hospitals, houses, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, resorts and offices."
BIC Chemical, a distribution company that provides products for both human and animal health care and sanitation, began working with Bell in 2006 to register and market CONTRAC BLOX and FINAL BLOX in Thailand. In January 2008, the company placed its first order. "Bell provides the quality tools and we at BIC Chemical have brought in the best training we could find and researched the latest techniques," Hawes wrote from his office in Nonthaburi, Thailand. "We now share what we have learned with our customers throughout Thailand."
One example of BIC's effort to enhance rodent control focuses on the agricultural sector. Implementing what it called the "Bell Challenge Thailand," BIC put its strategy to work improving rodent control management in a difficult, but fairly typical, agricultural situation - animal feed mills. "In agricultural feed mills, which is a large part of our market, the problem with rodents is exacerbated by the abundance of available food and the openness of the facility," Hawes noted. "The equipment is usually older and often leaks feed dust and particles throughout the maze of piping and equipment. "It would prove too costly to modernize the equipment enough to stop the spread of food particles," he added. "Shelter for rodents is plentiful, and it is also too expensive to seal the outer walls to prevent new rodents from coming in."
Faced with these obstacles, BIC experimented with techniques and products to achieve a "realistic reduction" in rodents. The company brought in training teams from SGS Company whose focus was on "Integrated Pest Management" techniques. BIC teams also received training from Thailand's Food & Drug Administration, the country's pest management association, and from materials provided by Bell. They shared what they've learned with pest control companies servicing the accounts or directly to the feed mill owners.
Technician training stressed reducing a rodent's basic needs - food, water and shelter. In their experiment, water was the easiest to isolate without unreasonable expense. Among the many strategies proposed were:
- removing shelter through sanitation techniques, such as removing clutter, discarded equipment and junk
- eliminating rodents' water supply by fixing leaky pipes indoors which forced rats to travel outside the facility to find water
- proper bait placement, including placing rat traps and glue boards in bait stations inside feed mills and positioning traps and glue boards along identified "rat highways"
- creativity in baiting, such as placing glue boards upside down in tight openings that prevented dust from settling on the glue board
- consistent supervision by placing one person or team in charge of rodent control so they can learn about and adjust to changes in rodent habits.
Bait choice was vital to success. "By the end of our experiment, FINAL BLOX was the only rodenticide appetizing enough to compete with the available food supply yet powerful enough to prove fatal even if it was a small part of the rodent's diet," Hawes noted. Bait was placed in bait stations outdoors. Technicians also had consistent results with Bell's PROVOKE Rat Attractant when they used it with traps and glue boards indoors.
"It has a strong attractant, and the non-toxic aspect of the product combined with the gel formulation, prevented it from being carried off and possibly contaminating feed elsewhere," Hawes added.
BIC Chemical presented their findings at Pest Summit 2008 in Thailand where Hawes said they received positive feedback from visitors. The company also published their findings in major livestock magazines and customer brochures in Thailand.
Besides the agricultural market, BIC Chemical in early 2009 started importing retail-sized packages of Bell's rodent control products for office and home use in Thailand.