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Experts share integrated approach to rodent control

Post by Javid Sofi on Thursday, November 24, 2022

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Pulwama, Nov 23: Rodent species including rats and porcupines are serious pests that cause severe damage to crops before and after harvest. They cause direct as well as indirect damage. 
The direct damage is done through gnawing, feeding or peeling, and indirect damage by spoilage, contamination and hoarding. So it becomes necessary for farmers to know how they could check rodents to minimise the damage to various crops and plants by these pests. 
Ghulam Hassan, an orchardist from Pulwama, said that he noticed rodents apart from feeding on underground vegetables like carrots, turnips and reddish causing significant damage to apple tree roots. 
“Over the past two years, I noticed that three apple trees in my orchard fell prey to rats. The tree roots were peeled off and the result was that the affected trees suffered drying,” Hassan told Rising Kashmir, adding that his labour of raising these trees for the last eight years went into vain. 
He added that other species of rodents and porcupines have been causing huge damage to almond and apple trees in different areas during winter. 
Porcupines are large rodents with coats of sharp spines or quills that protect them against predation. 
Experts maintain that the shortage of food in forests during winters drives them towards plains. 
Ghulam Hassan informed most of the almond orchardists in the area have covered tree trunks with protective coverings including jute bags, and poultry mesh and some sprayed the tree trunks with pepper spray. “These have reduced the threat but not eliminated it,” he said.
He said that porcupines peel the bark of tree trunks to reach phloem which they love to eat and the affected trees suffer drying. 
Dr Javid Ahmad Mugloo, head Krishi Vigyan Kendra ( KVK), advised an integrated approach to rodent management. He said that rodents can be managed through traditional as well as scientific methods.
“Traditionally rodents can be managed through field sanitation, reduction in bund size, trapping, fumigation of burrows with local herbs and cow dung,” he said, adding that plant species like artemisia, Iris and Picrorhiza can also be planted in fields to repel rodents.
He said chemically rodents can be controlled by using various poisons by placing them directly into the burrows or mixed with certain baits.
Porcupines can be kept away by installing flashlights in orchardists and saffron fields, he said.

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