Why are ‘conventional’ control techniques still required?
Biological control agents such as the myxoma virus (Myxomatosis), and Rabbit Haemorraghic Disease Virus (RHDV) or Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD), will not provide ‘magic bullets’ for reducing the impact of rabbits on agricultural production and the environment. Such agents will be much more effective if they form part of an integrated approach to your rabbit control programs. An integrated approach needs to utilise all available control options, including biological control, the use of vertebrate pesticides, shooting and trapping programs. Control programs are most effective when they include the greatest number of properties possible (that is, your neighbours).
Why do we need bait stations?
Although control programs using suitably approved poisons (1080 or sodium fluoroacetate, and pindone) are acceptable methods for reducing the impact of rabbits, the use of such pesticides is undergoing ever closer scrutiny. Bait stations provide one means by which potential risks to non-target species may be further reduced. When properly secured and isolated, bait stations may also enable baiting programs to be undertaken in the presence of domestic livestock, and during adverse weather conditions.
However, trail baiting should be your first choice for baiting programs where possible because bait trails are much more effective in reducing rabbit numbers.
What type is best?
The acceptability of a number of different bait station designs to urban and free-ranging wild rabbits has been examined. The raised concrete slab (60x60cm, on house bricks) and the drum (200L drum cut in half longitudinally, with rabbit access holes each end) were the designs most acceptable to rabbits. However, the slab design allowed far greater access to the bait by non-target animals, particularly granivorous birds, so we do not recommend its use. The drum station is the best design if you need to use bait stations for controlling rabbits.