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Effects of Turf Rolling and Soil Aeration on Rodent Populations

  • Author(s): Witmer, Gary
  • Borrowman, David
  • et al.
Abstract

Rodent populations at airports can cause human safety issues by attracting raptors which increases the risk of raptor-aircraft strikes. Various methods can be used to reduce rodent numbers, including trapping, poisoning, and habitat manipulation. Burrow disruption by turf rolling and soil aeration is a potential habitat manipulation method that could potentially reduce the carrying capacity for rodents. We tested this method at Kansas City International Airport, Missouri. We monitored the rodent populations in a control (untreated) area and in a nearby treated area where the turf was rolled and the soil aerated. We used grids of live traps to determine rodent abundance in the two areas. Unfortunately, the turf rolling and aeration did not reduce the rodent population, as we recorded 14-15 rodent captures per 100 trap-nights on both areas. We caution, however, that this was a very preliminary assessment, and the method could be further investigated for its potential to reduce rodent populations.

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