Rodent Bait Manufacturing | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Rodent Bait Manufacturing

The hours of operation at the SDDA Pierre, SD bait station vary. Before you go to the bait station, please call our office at 605.773.4432 to ensure someone will be there to help you.

Bait Mixing Facility

Authorization for the South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture to purchase and make available to governmental subdivisions and individuals, supplies and equipment for the suppression and control of unprotected birds and non-game animals was granted to the Department in 1971 by the State Legislature through the provisions of SDCL 38-20. The Secretary of Agriculture makes the supplies and equipment available through the Department’s Bait Station.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Bait Mixing Facility, located at the Pierre Municipal Airport, was transferred to the Department through a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Interior in 1971. Under the terms of the agreement and those contained in a Memorandum of Understanding dated July, 1969, the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, US Department of Interior, “extended to the State of South Dakota the facilities for preparing and distributing to cooperators at approximate cost, baits and toxicants and other materials used in control programs”. In 1971 and 1972, supplements to the Cooperative Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding completed the transfer.

Current Bait Manufacture Policy

Current Department policy concerning the Rodent Control Fund and Bait Station is to provide, to governmental agencies and the public, quality baits that are not available from normal sources at approximate cost and to maintain a facility for research on new control methods and chemicals.

The Department currently makes available zinc phosphide bait, manufactured at the bait mixing station, and gas cartridges obtained from the US Department of Agriculture’s Pocatello Supply Depot. The 2% Zinc Phosphide bait is sold in 25 and 50 pound bags and labeled only for prairie dog control. This toxicant is classified as a restricted use pesticide by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The gas cartridges, packaged 100 per case, are used primarily for treating small infestations and cleanup operations following bait treatment of larger infestations of prairie dogs.

In addition to manufacturing baits for sale to cooperators and individuals, the Department maintains the bait mixing facility for the manufacture of experimental baits, such as the research done on the use of 1080 bait for control of rodents, that was done in the early 1980s. The Department has made the Bait Station’s equipment available to SDSU researchers for the manufacture of experimental bran bait for grasshopper control (1987) and continue to make it available to Animal Damage Control for the manufacture of coyote lure and bait (1995).

Options Concerning Bait Manufacture

The necessity to insure quality, economically priced rodent baits and maintain a facility capable of producing experimental toxicants for pest control is as important today as it was when the bait station was accepted from the US Department of Interior. It is important, however to evaluate the options the Department of Agriculture has relative to what baits should be manufactured and what devices for control should be made available.

At the present time the bait mixing facility is utilized for the manufacture of 2% Zinc Phosphide Oat bait which is labeled only for use on prairie dogs.

Currently there are only three active ingredients labeled for use on prairie dogs in South Dakota; they are zinc phosphide, aluminum phosphide and gas cartridges. Zinc phosphide is registered for sale in South Dakota by four manufacturers, South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Bell Laboratories, Hacco Inc. and R & M Exterminators. While some product labels may have black-footed ferret survey requirements, the entire state has been “block cleared” so restrictions only apply where black-footed ferrets are known to exist.

Aluminum phosphide is registered for sale by several different companies and in many formulations which are readily available since it is used as a grain fumigant. All of these products require notification of the US Fish & Wildlife Service prior to application when using to control prairie dogs.

Gas cartridges are registered for sale only by USDA APHIS and distributed by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. This product requires notification of US Fish & Wildlife Service prior to application when using to control prairie dogs.

Other Agency Concerns

Other agencies, state and federal, that utilize the bait produced at the Bait Mixing Station have expressed their concerns about the potential loss of a steady supply of quality bait by privatizing this service. The concern is that because this is such a limited use product the private industry will either: give up quality for cost; or, decide that there is not enough need to justify manufacturing and will simply quit making bait and leaving these agencies without a reliable source of quality bait.

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