Rabbit control: bait stations

Page last updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2016 - 9:32am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Which poison?

Either pindone or 1080 poisoned oats can be used, and a ready-to-use bait is available for both products from a variety of licensed retailers in Western Australia. Pindone is a chronically acting anticoagulant poison that requires the poison to be ingested over several feeds to be effective. In contrast, 1080 is an acute poison which interferes with energy production within cells, and only requires a single exposure to the poison. 1080 and Pindone are water soluble so they can leach from baits during rainy periods.

Permits are required for some of these products, and these can be obtained through your local Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia office. Because of the lack of an effective antidote, 1080 cannot be used in built-up areas as there is a greater potential risk to humans and pets.

How effective are bait stations?

Against urban rabbits

Because 1080 cannot be used in or around built-up areas, pindone is the only pesticide available for use in these situations. However, reductions in rabbit numbers achieved with pindone in bait stations can be highly variable and may have little effect, or may achieve kills of up to 80%. The average reduction in numbers is usually around 50%. More importantly, it can take rabbits a considerable period to become accustomed to the stations, and it may take 30 to 60 days for any noticeable reduction in numbers. Thus, good forward planning is required to ensure you gain the maximum benefit from any bait station program. You should be pro-active and undertake your rabbit control program before planting/sowing, particularly with crops of high value, for example market gardens or horticultural crops.

Also remember that the bait stations alone may not necessarily alleviate your rabbit problem and other control measures may need to be undertaken, for example trapping or shooting. Although the initial cost outlay for rabbit-proofing your boundary fences with wire-netting may be high (approximately $1600/km), this will provide a better long-term and cost-effective solution to many rabbit problems in urban areas.

Broadacre use

The use of bait stations alone is unlikely to provide long-term, cost-effective mitigation from rabbit damage in broadacre situations. If bait stations are to be used for broadacre rabbit control, their use should be followed up with a trail baiting program where possible. If this cannot be done, then the use of bait stations should be integrated with another means of control, such as a shooting program. Bait stations will probably work best where rabbit numbers are low to moderate (less than 50/spotlight km).

The known reductions in rabbit numbers using One-Shot 1080 impregnated oats in bait stations for broadacre control of rabbits vary from 34-67% with an average of around 57% after 14 to 25 days. In contrast, the average reduction with one-shot trail baiting within the same region was around 84% after 14 days. Maximum kill rates with one-shot bait trails are usually achieved within 8 to 12 days. This illustrates why trail baiting should be the preferred option wherever possible.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080